SAN JOSE – Costa Rican authorities said on Friday that the death toll from flooding caused by Tropical Storm Nate has climbed to 10.
The latest fatality occurred in the Parrita area, on the central Pacific coast, where a 65-year-old man died after he was swept away by floodwaters, the Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ) said.
Two Nicaraguan nationals are among the dead.
OIJ deputy director Michael Soto told a press conference that 25 people remain unaccounted for.
While many of those listed as missing are alive and are simply unable to contact their families, the OIJ investigates every report “to corroborate whether it is only a communication issue or it is a person who is deceased,” he said.
The impact of the storm as it passed near Costa Rica left 500,000 people without access to safe drinking water and cut electricity to 18,500 households, according to authorities.
“Due to the size of the event there are a great number of places that are isolated. There is total destruction of bridges, collapses, landslides that have destroyed significant parts of roads or blocked them,” President Luis Guillermo Solis told reporters.
“We have people trapped in vehicles, who are in good health, but we have not been able to evacuate them because of the conditions,” he said.
The Red Cross has been working to rescue as many as 60 people who remain stuck in buses and cars on a mountainous stretch of the Inter-American Highway.
The government has already started to deliver supplies via both land and air to the hardest-hit areas, while deploying earth-moving equipment to clear blocked roads.
Some 7,000 people have been forced from their homes and authorities have established 95 shelters to accommodate evacuees.