San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gov’t: Felix Caused $850 Million in Damage

The government this week released its final damage report from Hurricane Felix and presented a detailed response plan, which President Daniel Ortega was scheduled to deliver before the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 25, in search of assistance.

Hurricane Felix, which tore through the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) Sept. 4 as a category-five storm, killed an estimated 300-plus people and caused some $850 million in damage, according to the report.

A total of 20,394 homes were destroyed or damaged, as well as 57 churches, 102 schools and 43 health centers. More than 477,000 hectares of forest were destroyed, 40,000 cattle were killed, 48,355 fishing boats destroyed, and 500 kilometers of road and bridge infrastructure wiped out.

The government’s response plan, which details a series of actions over the next six months with an estimated price tag of $292.3 million, will be carried out by local and regional authorities, and include aspects of food, security, reconstruction of homes and health clinics, and rehabilitation of the fishing, forestry and agricultural sectors.

Broken down into its parts, the plan calls for $16.5 million in food relief for seeds to replant basic crops and aid to replace lost poultry and livestock. The World Food Programme and other countries have offered 4,500 metric tons of food relief, and the government estimates that an additional 13,500 metric tons will be needed to get through the next six months.

In the area of infrastructure, the government claims that $148 million will be needed to rebuild and repair homes, schools, churches and other buildings.A total of 19,800 sheets of zinc, totaling $330,000, are needed urgently to put roofs on damaged homes.

In the area of health, the government calculates that $40 million will be needed over the next six months to rebuild and restock clinics.

For the forestry sector, $18.3 million will be required to extract and process the fallen wood and protect the forests against forest fires (see separate story).

Finally, to increase preparedness for the next major natural disaster, $2.5 million is required to build new emergency shelters and improve the early warning systems to evacuate people ahead of future storms.

The remaing estimated costs are for additional prevention and reconstruction effects.

“The recent formation of this proposal to develop the region, which will be carried out by the distinct sectors of the region, represents a very clear path toward the development of the region and should constitute the base on which our efforts are carried out to respond to the emergency and reactivate the region,” said government spokeswoman and First Lady, Rosario Murillo, in a release.


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