Costa Rica has hurricane Otto reconstruction price tag

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Costa Rica estimates that it needs 130bn colones (US$232mn) to rebuild the areas hit by hurricane Otto last November.

Damages reported from the hurricane amounted to some 106bn colones, with the Upala canton in Alajuela province (38bn) and Bagaces in Guanacaste (19bn) being the hardest hit, according to a release from the presidency's office.

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A recovery plan from national emergency commission CNE approved on Wednesday calls for some 97bn colones to rebuild and improve affected roads, bridges, and sewers, and carry out river works. Reported damage to this type of infrastructure was 62bn.

Some 96bn colones of the total investment will be provided by the national emergency fund, while the remaining will come from the budget of different government agencies.

The government said the plan entails carrying out 945 projects and actions, including reconstruction of road infrastructure and waterworks. About 3bn colones will be used on housing reconstruction, while 6bn will be invested in the agriculture sector.

Some 5.67bn colones have already been invested to date as part of the government's first-response relief efforts, which included infrastructure rehabilitation, support for agricultural producers, and subsidies to low-income communities.

"The approved plan is the continuation of the actions that we have already undertaken," Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís said.

A total of 103 projects included in the plan, amounting to 15bn colones, are being coordinated by the CNE, affected municipalities and a president-appointed reconstruction commissioner.

"Municipalities play a very important role in producing an inventory of the works that need to be reconstructed in order to reactivate the local economies," president Solís added.

According to authorities, the funds to carry out the plan will be available within the next 10 days.

Soon after Otto left a trail of destruction in Costa Rica and neighboring Nicaragua, international organizations, such as the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Cabei) stepped in to financially support the government's relief efforts.

(Pictured: Hurricane Otto making landfall in Central America.)