Hurricane Otto: The Aftermath


Alexis Santoro, Writer

Costa Rica and Nicaragua are in the midst of trying to recover from Hurricane Otto and an earthquake that swept through the area on Nov. 24. Both countries declared a state of emergency to brace for the hurricane barreling towards them. Officials in Costa Rica and Nicaragua issued evacuations, with over 20,000 people being forced to leave their homes. Many have still not been able to return home due to the substantial amounts of flooding and the landslides that continue to plague the area. Otto is currently responsible for at least 12 deaths, but the death toll continues to rise.

Nicaragua saw the most damage due to the fact that the country suffered a magnitude 7 earthquake only an hour after the hurricane made landfall. The aftershocks of the earthquake affected many surrounding countries, including the already devastated Costa Rica. Both events, however, not only destroyed homes, but they also destroyed crops. Many Nicaraguans live in poverty and rely solely on selling crops, such as cocoa or coffee beans, for their income. Government officials from Nicaragua have expressed their concerns about the damaged crops and the economy of the country moving forward.

Costa Rica is struggling to get back on its feet after enduring Hurricane Otto and the strong aftershocks of the earthquake in Nicaragua. The storm tore through many towns, destroying homes and buildings. Ms. Calidonio, a Spanish teacher at Saint John Vianney High School, shared that she has family in Costa Rica who are “devastated.” Calidonio shares that her family in Costa Rica believe that they “have been very blessed” and that “the hand of God is protecting them and they must remain faithful.” Many Costa Ricans feel that they were blessed to have their safety, and that they are praying for Nicaragua, who sustained the brunt of the storm. The hurricane left many Costa Ricans homeless and in shelters with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

On Dec. 3, Costa Rica held a telethon which raised two million dollars. They plan to give half of the proceeds to a children’s hospital and half to those affected by Hurricane Otto. Both countries are now in a period of recovery now that the storm has past. Shelters have been set up in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica to help those who cannot yet return home. Communities are banding together and ,with help from the Red Cross, plan to rebuild and strengthen their country.