Hurricane Nate: How Tourists Can Help

Hurricane Nate | © The National Guard / Flickr
Hurricane Nate | © The National Guard / Flickr
Tropical Storm Nate, which ripped through Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua last Thursday, October 5, left 22 people dead and several more missing. The devastation in Costa Rica is being called one of the country’s worst natural disasters in recent history.

Houses have been destroyed, bridges have been washed away, and mudslides and other damage have closed down many of the country’s highways. Costa Rica has been declared a state of emergency by the government and thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes and placed in shelters around the country.

Hurricane Nate Flickr

Areas of Honduras had already been hard-hit by heavy tropical rains and flooding when Tropical Storm Nate passed through after devastating Costa Rica; several people were killed trying to cross flooded rivers, and many local roadways were damaged.

Many of Costa Rica’s main tourism areas have been affected by the storm: Alajuela, Doce en Cartago, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and San Jose: not great news for a country for whom tourism is so vital to the economy.

There are many organizations that are working to help with rebuilding efforts. The Costa Rica Red Cross has nine regional locations and 121 auxiliary offices across the country, and they are accepting donations of basic necessities. Alternatively, you can donate money through the Red Cross website.

Boy carrying debris after Hurricane Nate, Costa Rica © Jeffrey Arguedas/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

BAC Credomatic, one of Costa Rica’s largest financial institutions, is collecting cash donations here and will match the amount donated, up to a maximum of US$100,000.

It’s important to remember, as these countries start to recover, that their economies rely heavily on tourism. Tourists can help simply by not canceling their trips, and continuing to head to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, or Honduras. In this way, you’ll be helping to support the local economy just by continuing to eat in local restaurants, stay in local hostels, take guided tours, and shop at locally owned stores.

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