Animals badly affected as Hurricane Otto lashes Costa Rica

Animals badly affected as Hurricane Otto lashes Costa Rica

Press release

Animals desperately need help in Costa Rica after a hurricane left the country reeling. Rains, floods, winds and mudslides wreaked havoc across the Central American region, hitting farmlands particularly hard.

Families in the path of Hurricane Otto depend on their livestock, pigs and birds for subsistence, while many also keep pets.

The strong winds and floods put animals at risk of trauma, injuries and drowning. Survivors are vulnerable to diseases, parasites and bacterial infections, which puts their welfare and lives in danger.

World Animal Protection has mobilised its disaster response team and is immediately providing food to assist 1500 cattle, 300 pigs, 900 dogs and 200 cats in the heavily affected Upala and Bagaces regions.

We are coordinating with the National Emergency Commission, the Animal Health Services (SENASA) and other public institutions to provide further assistance to animals and their families over the next few days. We aim to reach 70,000 animals in the days to come. We are also in touch with local contacts in both Nicaragua and Panama to monitor the needs of their affected animals.

"Animals are a critical source of livelihood. The loss of animals has a significant social and economic impact on people, especially on those with lower resources and in rural areas,” said Juan Carlos Murillo, Disaster Response Manager for World Animal Protection.

In Costa Rica, at least four people died after the hurricane struck late at night and another 30 are missing.

The most affected areas were Bagaces and Upala, with unroofed houses, mudslides, flash floods and fallen trees. Some 40 houses were flooded to the roof.

There are also general power outages in both locations.


Notes to Editors

  • For press interviews, please contact Jason Muir: +506 25621234, +506 89210438, or at
  • Hurricane Otto is the first hurricane to make landfall in Costa Rica in the last 174 years.  
  • In Costa Rica a cold front was already affecting the southern region and coastal areas of the Osa Peninsula, Perez Zeledon and the border between Costa Rica and Panama, causing severe flooding in several communities.
  • Shelters are already available for affected people in several towns of the Atlantic region where more than 1000 people are sheltered and the government has ordered a mandatory evacuation for 4000 families.