The Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS) assisted 1,500 families affected by Hurricane Otto in the province of Guanacaste, with a social investment of ¢1.4 billion in the cantons of La Cruz and Bagaces.
Before the hurricane made landfall on national territory, the Institute moved to ready a ¢1 billion fund to facilitate immediate response in case an institutional intervention was required.
Each of the Municipal and Regional Emergency Committees was supported by IMAS personnel, and once an official emergency was declared, more than 200 IMAS staff – including surveyors, co-managers and social workers – traveled to affected areas to evaluate the conditions of families, complete the Social Information Registry and assign emergency benefits. People in both shelters and in the field were evaluated.
The IMAS Board of Directors also held an emergency meeting to approve a new benefit titled, “housing improvement to respond to the emergency,” whose objective is to accelerate the process of registration, approval and execution of this benefit.
IMAS established a working strategy for the allocation of resources, divided in three phases to cover 100 percent of the immediate needs of those affected by Hurricane Otto who are in conditions of poverty, high risk and social stagnation.
In the first 30 days, the first and second phases of intervention were completed. The first phase focused on attending to the basic needs of hurricane victims, such as food, clothing, basic necessities, technical support and temporary housing rent payments.
In the second phase, also carried out immediately, money transfers were made for the purchase of basic materials for home repairs. Among materials acquired by families are zinc roofing sheets, windows, doors, toilets and items to provide services such as water and electricity.
IMAS is currently in the third phase of assistance, executing benefits for home improvement in emergencies, which includes repairing homes owned by hurricane victims. Allocation of funds varies according to technical studies and each family’s individual needs.
“From the very first moment we presented an emergency assistance strategy, and we’ve submitted clear and transparent reports by canton that include the number of families and people assisted, and the allocated amounts. When this process is finished, IMAS’ social investment will have surpassed ¢3.5 billion across the country,” said Human Development and Social Inclusion Minister and IMAS Executive President Emilio Arias Rodríguez.