Costa Rica: Floods DREF Final Report (MDRCR017) - Costa Rica

Description of the disaster

On 2 October 2018, the IMN warned of a low-pressure system coming in from the south-western Caribbean Sea, which activated an Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone over the country and over the waters of the Pacific (Meteorological Report # 2). On 4 October, IMN detected two other low-pressure systems (Meteorological Report #8), one in the Caribbean near the Nicaraguan coast and another in the Pacific in western Costa Rica, that led to even more intense rainfall and severe weather conditions along the Pacific coast and slightly milder conditions in other parts of the country. Rains of varying intensity fell in Pacific regions and even in the Central Valley. The greatest amount of rainfall was recorded in the Nicoya Peninsula and the Central Pacific, where between 50 to150 mm of rain were reported over a period of 24 hours. 125,190 people were affected by the floods.

Meteorological Report #16, which was issued on 5 October, revealed that more than 300 mm of rain fell over several areas in the North Pacific and Central Pacific on 4 and 5 October. The highest concentration of rain and floods were seen in the districts of Lepanto, Paquera and Puntarenas (Central) and in Tárcoles, Garabito, Parrita and Quepos in the Central Pacific and North Pacific coastal strip. Over a period of 24 hours, IMN reported 400 mm of accumulated rainfall in Paquera, 255 mm in Hojancha, 206 mm in Cuajiniquil, 145 mm in Sardinal, 71 mm in Liberia and Bagaces, and between 100 and 140 mm in the Central Pacific; this led to increased water levels in the Naranjo, División Saveegre and Tempisque Rivers and in lower areas of the Abangares River.

Post-impact data revealed that the most affected areas were located in the Nicoya Peninsula. Data on damages and victims remain as described in the Plan of Action. During the first two weeks of intervention, the National Risk Management System worked on the following lines of action:
• Collective centre management.
• Distribution of food and household kits.
• Water distribution and aqueduct rehabilitation.
• Special and ordinary waste management.
• Rain sewer cleaning.
• Specific agriculture and livestock, geology, engineering (housing, roads, bridges, fords) and socioeconomic (families) assessments.
• Contracting of machinery and purchase of materials (roads, aqueducts).
• Complete rehabilitation of electrical, telephone and internet services.
• Intervention in rivers (retaining walls and dikes, dredging and cleaning of riverbeds).
• Presence of assessment institutions.

The State invested approximately ¢ 300,000,000.001, especially in:
• Food: ¢ 55,522.000.00
• Initial impact: ¢ 181,323,955.00, part of a National Risk Prevention and Emergency Response Commission mechanism intended to enable local governments to rehabilitate and rebuild infrastructure such as bridges, roads and municipal dikes, as well as dredge rivers and other similar activities.

Main impact to livelihoods:
• Trade: while some businesses suffered direct impacts to their infrastructure, the biggest impact for most was the decrease in sales due to damage to roads, which disrupted daily activities.
• Tourism: hotel infrastructure and tourist activity were affected by the decrease in tourism to the area and the fact that some sectors were left incommunicado for up to 15 days.
• Crops: the following crops were totally or, in very few cases, partially lost due to heavy rains and landslides.
o Grasses
o Bean
o Guava
o Papaya
o Plantain
o Rice
o Maize
o Cantaloupe
o Mango
• Shrimp farming: losses caused by rainfall volumes (floods) and resulting pollution to shrimp-farming ponds.
• Egg production: loss of poultry.
• Teak: plantations in the area were destroyed by landslides.
• Bee hives: loss of honey-producing hives caused by torrential rains and floods.
• Irrigation systems: damaged by landslides and flooding from rivers and streams.
Source: National Emergency Commission

Author / Source – International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies

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