Hurricane Otto leaves at least 9 dead in Costa Rica

Costa Rica suffered Friday for the first time in its history a direct hit by a hurricane, which made landfall while taking an unprecedented route from the Caribbean across to the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane warnings were issued for parts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

In neighboring Nicaragua, officials reported no casualties, just dozens of homes damaged in low-lying areas.

Otto, the seventh Atlantic hurricane of the season, landed north of the town of San Juan de Nicaragua as a Category 2 storm on the five-rating Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

"Your help in keeping the frequency clear allows us to hear those affected by hurricanes", he said.

Otto dumped over a month's worth of rain in some areas near the Nicaraguan border. Attempts continue to recover the fourth body, according to the representative of the OIJ investigative agency, Guillermo Fonseca.

In Costa Rica, the storm killed at least nine people in the communities of Bagaces and Upala and forced 6,000 people into shelters, authorities said Friday.

Authorities estimate damages to roads at US$8.7 million.

In Cardenas, a municipality of some 5,390 inhabitants located 100 miles (162 kilometers) south of Managua along Lake Nicaragua, hundreds of people remain sheltered in churches, schools and sports courts that were fitted for that goal as Hurricane Otto approached.

The eye of Hurricane Otto left Nicaragua Thursday afternoon leaving no significant damage or particularly heavy rains, according to the Sinapred emergency management agency, which evacuated nearly 10,000 people before Otto hit the country.

Government officials said there had been some people along the country's southeast coast who had refused to evacuate, but the officials declined to say how many.

Officials in Costa Rica ordered the evacuation of 4,000 people from its Caribbean coast and called off school nationwide for the rest of the week.

Otto is still spinning in the eastern Tropical Pacific, but it is forecast to weaken as it moves farther away from land in the next two to three days.

At about the same time the storm hit, a powerful quake shook Nicaragua and El Salvador, briefly triggering a tsunami alert.

The sole casualty was in Nicaragua, where one person died of a heart attack.

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