Q COSTA RICA NEWS SAN JOSE 9:17AM – As predicted, Hurricane Otto left Costa Rica in the early hours of this morning, but not before leave a wake of destruction, particularly in the town of Upala, in Alajuela, that was in the eye of the storm and Bagaces, in Guanacaste.
At 8:00am Friday morning, President Luis Guillermo Solis, held the first press conference of the day, surrounded by the heads of the various ministries and emergency response services, gave an indication what happened in the last hours of Otto, the first hurricane to directly impact Costa Rica.
In the words of President Solis, “…it was the first and not the last.”
In a strong message, Solis asked all not let down their guard, his voice trembling in expressing his pain for the three fatalities and dozens still missing. The President was clear that the only authority to officially provide numbers of the fatalities is the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), and to disregard the numbers floating in the social media.
We probably made mistakes, but the heroic efforts of many negate them, according to Solis who explained this has been a learning experience and this morning, Friday, is not the time to criticize, but to focus on rescue and relief efforts of the many isolated, bring help to the affected and restore potable water and electrical services to all communities.
The President added that a RED ALERT will be maintained, with the exception of the greater metropolitan area (GAM) and Central Valley, which are on Green Alert and south Limon continuing in Yellow Alert, until authorities have had an opportunity to evaluate the extend of the effect of the phenomenon.
In its journey that began early Thursday morning, making landfall in Nicaragua, Hurricane Otto affected many areas from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast, but, the worst of the worst was in Upala, Los Chiles and Bagaces.
In Upala and Bagaces, in six hours Otto dumped the equivalent of one month of normal November rain.
You Too Can Do Your Part
Many communities in the northern Caribbean, northern zone and southern zone, and especially Upala and Bagaces need our help. Donations can be in the way of cash, non-perishable foods and clothing.
The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) announced the bank account numbers to take in donations:
In addition, Walmart and a select number of Masxmenos and Pali stores will be accepting donations of non-perishable foods and clothing that will be distributed by the Cruz Roja.
Do Not Visit The Affected Areas
President Solis was emphatic that people should not visit the affected areas, for one there is still risk of additional flooding and landslides, and two to allow the emergency responses to do their work.
Until further notice, flights of all non-essential services (ie private planes and drones) are not permitted, keeping the skies clear for the rescue helicopters, several of which have arrived from Panama, to perform search and rescue and do a damage assessment.