Tropical Storm Otto, the last atlantic stom of the season, intensified into a category 2 hurricane and headed towards the caribbean coast of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Almost the entire country was put on red alert, and the country ground to a halt with baited breath.

This was no ordinary hurricane. This was the first time that a hurricane had hit Costa Rica soil since 1851. Over 90km of Caribbean coastline was evacuated - over 4500 people were taken to makeshift shelters, whilst National Emergency protocols were put into action.

Quite suddenly, Otto changed course, heading further north than predicted - hitting the southern caribbean area of Bluefields in Nicaragua. Unusually, this did not slow down the hurricane, in fact it seemed to gather more strength.

Although there was a red alert issued over the country, what happened next was quite unexpected. Otto changed course again, slamming into the lowlands of Northern Costa Rica with ferocity.  The power was out, and it was 1am in the morning.

It wasnt until morning broke the next day that the first signs of the devastation were shown.

Flash floods took away entire houses, leaving two metres of mud and clay in its trail. 10 people lost their lives, and over 25 people were reported missing (many of which have now been found). The loss to Costa Rica´s wildlife and environment can only be estimated.

However, as proof to the Costa Rican spirit, the country has shown immense solidarity for the affected, communities and rallied together to fundraise not just money to help people rebuild, but clothing, food,  medicines, cleaning items, heavy machinery to help clear debris, personal care items, animal care and pet food - there is no-one left abandoned as we edge closer towards the season of giving.

There is a long road of recovery ahead for many people, but they have the support of the whole counttry to help them along their way.



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This article was contributed by LAST (Latin American Sea Turtles) who offer projects helping sea turtles in Costa Rica - check them out today.