By Costa Rica Relief Team (Originally in Spanish)
In late November 2016, Hurricane Storm Otto traveled through Central America causing severe damage in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama, and claiming a total of 12 lives in Costa Rica and Panama. The hurricane destroyed roadways, water systems and infrastructure in Costa Rica, which had not been directly hit by a hurricane in recorded history – since 1851. Hurricane Otto was the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America.
In Costa Rica, people opened their hearts to the victims by sending them abundant material aid. Warehouses were filled with food, clothing, mattresses, hygiene products and more. Our local Association members, following Supreme Master Ching Hai’s instruction to care for those in need, also joined the effort to bring relief to the affected area with US$13,000 lovingly provided by Master and US$1,971 contributed by our local members and those from North Carolina, USA.
On December 19, after the Costa Rican National Emergency Commission had announced that the emergency had passed, four of our Costa Rican members went to the canton of Upala, which is close to the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border and one of the most affected areas, to find out the needs of the people. Agent Ivette Perez Rodríguez, the local Police Force Delegate, kindly helped to give us the information concerning which communities still had families, including those from Nicaragua, in need of urgent help due to the difficulty in accessing the affected areas.
On December 22, we arrived at the San José District of Upala with two big trucks fully loaded with relief supplies. We made 375 packages containing various basic vegan food and hygiene items with the help of 20 local people who extended their hands to the less fortunate despite their own suffering. Additional baby diapers and adult incontinence supplies were prepared for giving to people according to their needs.
The next day, we delivered 50 packages to families in La Unión, El Pinol and El Dique, and 51 more on the following day to several communities including San Bosco, La Union, Las Camelias and Popoyoapa. In addition, on December 24, we distributed our relief packages near the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border to 130 families from El Toro, Nicaragua. As it was Christmas Eve, we wore Santa hats to cheer up the recipients.
On December 25, Christmas Day, the remaining 144 packages were distributed at the border to those from Colón, Nicaragua. Recipients included women, seniors and children, who waited patiently for their share. Everyone was grateful for the assistance, and many had tears in their eyes.
We had the chance to visit a few people who were ill, as well as senior citizens. One of them was 110 years old. A woman living alone in a small wooden house was very happy to see us, as she was spending her Christmas Eve drinking only rice water. Her eyes filled with joy after we brought Master’s love and a lot of vegan food.
One of the most difficult places to access was on a mountain covered with mud. Our team carried packages and walked 30 minutes with mud up to our ankles. These houses were off the main road. At the very end of this muddy area lived a woman who had to support her 10 grandchildren. She was extremely appreciative of our help.
Thanks to God’s grace, we were able to complete our mission by the end of Christmas Day. We hoped these families would be able to have decent meals with their loved ones during this holiday season. May God bless all the affected people in the coming year so that they can soon resume their normal lives. Our deep gratitude to Master for Her love and teachings, which elevate our hearts and souls.
Relief video: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LNNcn5CDfY”
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for Hurricane Otto Relief Work in Costa Rica and Nicaragua
|Food (rice, beans, lentils, wheat flour, corn flour, unrefined cane sugar, salt, coffee, cookies, oil, spaghetti, oatmeal) and supplies (detergent, soap, bleach, feminine hygiene supplies, toilet paper, razor blades, toothpaste, rubber boots, bags, baby diapers and adult incontinence supplies)||8,099,570||A|
|Total||CRC 8,099,570 (US$14,726.49)|