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Costa Rica declares State of Emergency for Hurricane Eta response

November 11, 2020

Costa Rica on Tuesday issued a State of Emergency, a move which will help the National Emergency Commission (CNE) take administrative, operational and economic measures to assist the country’s recovery from Hurricane Eta.

Alexander Solís, president of the CNE, said the decree will “streamline” the reconstruction process. The organization will work with local bodies to prioritize projects and establish a General Emergency Plan for the coming months.

“In compliance with my commitment to the communities that suffered the impact of Eta, I signed the declaration of National Emergency,” said President Carlos Alvarado. “It allows institutions to streamline processes so that we recover as soon as possible. We continue to work for the people impacted.”

In total, the CNE estimates 325,000 people in Costa Rica were affected — directly or indirectly —  by the heavy rainfall provoked by Eta, which made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane. 

Authorities reported 79 road blockages, three damaged or destroyed bridges and 20 communities that suffered impairment to drinking water.

As of Tuesday, some 700 people are still living in temporary shelters after the floods and landslides provoked by Eta. The CNE says it’s using helicopters to deliver supplies to Coquito and Santa Elena de Osa, as well as La Peña and Corona in Golfito, which have been isolated by road damage.

The Costa Rican Presidency says it has a projected investment of  ₡957 million ($1.6 million), the majority earmarked for cleaning roads. However, the financial impact is expected to increase following the emergency decree.

Eta caused an estimated 150 deaths in Central America, including two in southern Costa Rica. As of Wednesday morning, the storm has regained hurricane strength and is expected to make landfall in Florida on Thursday.

According to Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute (IMN), rainy conditions are expected this weekend along the Pacific Slope. Authorities warned the population to exercise caution, as soils remain saturated due to Eta.

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