Panama: Floods, Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), MDRPA012


A. Situation Analysis

Description of the situation

Beginning on 12 November, a tropical wave formed in the Southwestern Caribbean Sea in front of the Coast of Panama, With stationary cloudiness and thunderstorms over the Country. Otto formed in the early morning hours of Monday, 21 November 2016 in the southern Caribbean as a tropical depression and later became a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on Tuesday, 22 November 2016, with sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Hurricane Centre. The subsequent floods as a result of the location of Hurricane Otto is blamed for three deaths and at least four disappearances in Panama, and it caused severe flooding and landslides in the provinces of Panama, Panama Oeste,
Bocas del Toro, Colon, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, leading to blocked and collapsed roads and the destruction of some houses. On 22 November 2016, Panama’s president placed the country under alert in order to ready all of its national response organizations for the emergency, and schools were closed by presidential decree throughout Panama on Wednesday, 23 November 2016; however, they reopened the following day, with the exception of some schools in the provinces of Colon and Bocas del Toro that were damaged by the hurricane. Moreover, public offices were reopened in the province of Bocas del Toro, the collective centres in the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro were closed, the red alert for the province Bocas del Toro and the Caribbean coast were downgraded to yellow, and the nationwide alert was downgraded to green; the yellow alert is being maintained due to the heavy rainfall in mountainous areas, while the green alert is in effect for the country due to the danger that the heavily saturated soil still presents to the general public and property.