Costa Rica + 2 more

Flash Email 5 Central America Tropical Storm Otto 29 November 2016

Situation Report
Originally published

Hurricane Otto was the seventh hurricane in the Atlantic season, which officially ends tomorrow, 30 November. In Costa Rica, cantons in the northern part of the country were hardest hit (Los Chiles, Upala and Guatuso). In Nicaragua, the hurricane made landfall as category two (of five) with winds of up to 175 km/h, affecting the country’s southern Caribbean zone.

Costa Rica

  • The National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention (CNE) reports 38 shelters hosting 3,370 people, the majority (2,345) in the canton of Upala.
  • The Red Cross, firefighters and police are attending 42 cut-off communities with food and supplies. Other areas are being reached by helicopters provided by the Governments of Panama and the United States.
  • Roads have been repaired and cleared in 93 per cent of the affected areas.
  • Fumigation is ongoing in 270 houses in Upala to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.
  • 66 water systems have been assessed (52 are operational and 14 damages). Twelve systems have yet to be assessed.
  • A red alert is in effect for the cantons of Upala, Bagaces, Golfito and Corredores (the most affected by the hurricane).
  • The Presidency issued an emergency decree for the affected areas, which allows for immediate emergency assistance.
  • 10,000 people need humanitarian assistance


  • Several municipalities are affected in the departments and regions of Caribe Sur, Río San Juan, Rivas and Zelaya Central.
  • Some 11,678 people sought refuge in 152 temporary emergency shelters, which were set-up in 73 communities in the impacted areas. No deaths were reported.
  • About 248 people remain in shelters while their houses are being repaired.
  • Authorities are providing first aid, food and medical and psychosocial care.
  • 857 houses were damaged.
  • Authorities plan to repair 680 houses (650 in Río San Juan and 30 in Rivas).
  • Eight schools and two health centres have damaged roofs.
  • 1,700 meters of power lines are damaged and as a result of the power shortage there is a lack of water reserves.
  • Authorities deployed 12,000 operational personnel and 591 vehicles to ensure public safety and first response efforts.


  • Some 2,431 people were affected over a 7-day period.
  • Eight people died from the storm, three as a direct result and five for not heeding the alerts.
  • The livestock and agriculture sector is the most affected. Authorities are carrying out a damage assessment to create a recovery plan for the sector.

Regional Actions

  • There are no requests for international assistance.
  • The International Federation of the Red Cross has requested DREF funds of 336,217 CHF (US$332,099) for 1,000 families in Costa Rica and 254,173 CHF (US$251,060) for 650 families in Panamá.
  • OCHA is allocating a US$30,000 Emergency Cash Grant for the procurement of relief items in Costa Rica.
  • PAHO / WHO has sent Emergency Medical specialists to Upala and to the Ministry of Health to support coordination and response efforts and needs assessments.
  • OCHA has two staff in Nicaragua supporting the United Nations System and authorities. It has also deployed a Humanitarian Affairs Officer to Costa Rica to support the United Nations System.

For more information:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit