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Hurricane Otto: Red Cross Responds in Central America

Hurricane Otto slammed into Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama late last week, damaging homes, roads and bridges and forcing people to leave their homes. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supporting relief efforts led by the national Red Cross societies in the affected countries along with support and coordination from the American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In Costa Rica, the worst hit country, the IFRC deployed disaster management, shelter and cash transfer specialists to support the Costa Rican Red Cross. Thus far, the Red Cross has distributed more than 8,450 food parcels in the affected areas, along with household goods, mattresses, blankets, water jugs and water tanks. Some teams had to travel by boat to get relief supplies to families in need.

The American Red Cross deployed a disaster specialist to assess with cash transfers and has people working in the warehouse to pack goods for distribution.

In Costa Rica, the storm is responsible for at least nine deaths. Tens of thousands of people do not have access to fresh water and flooding and mudslides damaged bridges, roads, houses and caused power outages.

In Panama, the storm is responsible for at least eight deaths. The storm displaced more than 500 people, and had a large effect on the livestock and agriculture sectors.

In Nicaragua, almost 400 homes were damaged and as many as 10,000 people evacuated prior to the storm.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.