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Hurricane Otto Causes National Emergency in Costa Rica


Tropical storm Otto moved out to sea on Friday after hitting Nicaragua and Costa Rica with hurricane-force winds and torrential rains, killing at least three people and forcing thousands to evacuate.

The Miami-based hurricane centre said that “Otto”, the seventh Atlantic hurricane of the season, landed north of the town of San Juan de Nicaragua as a Category 2 storm, and then headed out to the Pacific Ocean with top sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph) towards the town of Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s considerable tourist industry was also affected by the hurricane, as the country’s government requested the closure of all protected areas, national parks and public institutions across the country for the past two days.

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) on Wednesday launched an information hotline to field inquiries from tourists and tourism businesses. Interested people can call 800-TURISMO (800-8874766), where operators will offer information about the operation of flights at Juan Santamaría International Airport, Daniel Oduber International Airport and the Airlines Association, as well as tourism chambers and associations. ICT confirmed that bilingual (English-Spanish) staff is available.

ICT officials asked the tourism sector to remain alert and abide by CNE’s recommendations and evacuation orders with the aim of safeguarding the integrity of all tourists.