Update 7 December 2016
Team Rubicon UK is not going to deploy a task force to Costa Rica in response to Hurricane Otto.
On 27 November, a recce team of four was dispatched to Costa Rica including TRUK Ops Manager Charlie Peschardt and three volunteers. The aim was to determine whether a full-scale deployment was required after an offer of assistance was accepted by Costa Rica’s Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE).
Our team joined with local partners from the Universidad Santa Paula to visit the most affected areas in North West Costa Rica which had been identified as potentially needing assistance. Whilst it was clear that there had been a need for aid in many of these areas, the local response has been extremely effective and well within the capacity of government and local institutions. As such there is no identifiable need for TRUK deployment to Costa Rica.
At our Chilmark HQ, two volunteers and our Operations interns have ensured that our Ops room is staffed 24 hours a day during the recce, and many TRUK volunteers told us they were available for deployment.
Following the recce team’s deployment to Costa Rica they have shared their report and findings with local and international agencies, and we continue to work with contacts in Costa Rica to identify a possible service project in the country in 2017.
Our recce team are due to return to the UK on 9 December after moving to Haiti to plan for a service project in 2017, and we look forward to sharing more information on this as we have it.
Our sincere thanks go out to our Greyshirts for their work in Costa Rica, our HQ volunteers for their efforts and enthusiasm, and our partners in Costa Rica for their support and co-operation.
Update 29 November 2016
Category 2 Hurricane Otto made landfall on the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua/Costa Rica on Thursday 24th November 2016. It was the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America. Hurricane Otto weakened rapidly as it moved across southern Nicaragua. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Otto had faded to a tropical storm by Thursday night and emerged off of Central America’s Pacific coast early Friday.
There is currently no request for international assistance from with Nicaragua or Costa Rica. However, the areas most affected in northern Costa Rica are only now being accessed by emergency services and media crews. 9 people have been reported dead in Costa Rica, up to 30 are missing, and up to 6 thousand are currently displaced. 3 days of national mourning have been declared. A TR UK contact in-country has approached the person in charge of international cooperation at La Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias (CNE) to offer TR UK’s assistance. This has been accepted.
On Sunday 27th November, TR UK flew 3 volunteers and one full-time staff member to conduct a recce mission to Upala and the surrounding areas to identify specific tasks and locations of work. It is anticipated these efforts will be in support of core recovery activities, namely impact assessment, debris management, route clearance and building repairs. The recce will focus on the outlying areas in the remote region of Upala and its surrounds. The recce will last no longer than 7 days total, including 5 days in-country.