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Flash Email Central America Tropical Storm Otto 24 November 2016

Originally published

Otto is a category 2 hurricane (24 November 13:00 ET).  The system has made landfall in Nicaragua 140 km east of the province of Limón in Costa Rica and 110 km from the city of Bluefields in Nicaragua. Winds from Otto are at 175 km/h. Hurricane alerts are in effect for the Atlantic coasts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua and Tropical storm alerts are in effect for the Pacific coasts of both countries.  A hurricane watch remains in effect for coastal areas of Panama and Northern Nicaragua.

Costa Rica

  • The country has declared a state of emergency (23 November).
  • A red alert is in effect for several cantones in the Atlantic coast and northern regions and a yellow alert for the rest of the country.
  • The President announced mandatory evacuations.
  • Heavy rains associated with the hurricane have affected 214 communities, 21 communities are cut-off, 18 shelters are operational and hosting 1,335 people.  Some 4,000 have been evacuated and 1,183 houses are damaged as well as roads, bridges and public and private infrastructure.
  • Government offices are closed and classes are suspended for 24 and 25 November.


  • A red alert is in effect for the region of southern Caribbean, departments of Zelaya Central, Rio San Juan, Chontales, Boaco, Rivas y Granada and a red alert for the rest of the country.
  • Some 10,570 people have been evacuated. In Bluefields there are 7,800 people housed in 26 shelters.
  • There are 44 official shelters open in the country.
  • Authorities have deployed four mobile clinics to areas of impact. Authorities have another 30 mobile clinics on stand-by.
  • Classes and universities have been suspended throughout the country.


  • A yellow alert remains in effect for the province of Bocas del Toro and green for the rest of the country.
  • There are reports of four deaths.
  • Rains continue in areas of the province of Chiriquí and mudslides have blocked areas of the main highway.  Shelters have been opened for people affected.
  • Five people are missing – four on a ship in the Caribbean and 1 buried under a mudslide north of Panama City.
  • Authorities are distributing 4,000 bottles of water in affected areas.
  • 2,112 people are affected by floods.


  • A yellow alert is in effect for the departments of Colón, Atlántida, Islas de la Bahía, Cortés and a green alert for the departments of Gracias a Dios, Islas de la Bahía and Yoro (COPECO).
  • The Emergency Operations Center is monitoring and coordinating the situation.

El Salvador

  • The National System for Civil Protection, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation issued a preventative Green alert for the entire country (23 November).
  • Authorities from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources warn that Otto could affect El Salvador’s Pacific coast by the end of the week.

Regional Actions

  • OCHA has two staff in Nicaragua supporting the UN System and authorities.
  • OCHA has a Humanitarian Affairs Officer on route to Costa Rica to support the UN System
  • Plan International has deployed staff to Nicaragua.
  • The World Animal Protection is working with the CNE in Costa Rica to ensure supplies for livestock and domestic animals.
  • UNEP is drafting an environmental risk analysis in the event that companies handling hazardous chemicals are affected.
  • Save the Children, OXFAM, World Vision and Acción Médica Cristiana have staff in Bluefields, responding to the emergency.
  • Save the Children and OXFAM are preparing a needs assessment in case it is needed at the weekend and have prepositioned basic supplies such as blankets, plastic sheeting and water buckets.
  • UNDP is supporting countries in profiling possible affected areas as a baseline for assessments in impact sites and response team composition.

For more information:

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