Hurricane Otto hit the northern part of Costa Rica November 24, dumping more than a month's worth of rain in just a few hours. Upala was one of the worst hit areas with several fatalities and complete property lost for most families. A Church of the Nazarene in the city center reported all families in the congregation suffered home damage and some members are still in shelters. The sanctuary and parsonage were also seriously affected.
Costa Rica North District Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Coordinator Angie Carvajal said people are already searching for their houses, cleaning and seeing what items can be recovered. Electricity and water services were restored Monday and there are long lines for food as organizations begin distributing food.
The Church of the Nazarene is mobilizing in different ways to help. On Saturday, pastors and members from the Ciudad Quezada, El Pier, Los Chiles, and Tres y Tres churches cleaned the city center church sanctuary and three houses, including North District Global Mission Coordinator Estefanía Amador's home, which was one of the most affected houses. The group cleaned until after midnight.
Carvajal said it was a beautiful gesture from the churches because some of them were also affected by the hurricane and they are very humble and low-income people.
On Sunday, the Central District joined in recovery efforts by collecting basic necessities. Central District NCM Coordinator Guiselle Abarca is transferring the collected materials to the Poás Church of the Nazarene, which is functioning as a collection center. A group of young people from the church are assisting the Poás Municipal Commission by collecting and sorting donated supplies.
Carvajal traveled with a group to do a damage assessment Tuesday, and on Friday, a group of Liberia’s churches will distribute food and help to clean houses.