Costa Rica is facing ‘potentially devastating’ food shortage due to hurricanes

Costa Rica has declared a food emergency and has declared three days of nationwide strikes to force the government to respond to shortages and food shortages, the country’s state-run news agency reported.

Costa Rica declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as the country suffered its worst drought since the 1970s, forcing many to flee the country and leading to an outbreak of coronavirus in the city of Veracruz. 

The country has also been hit by a severe storm that killed over 10,000 people and left more than 1,000 dead, according to the United Nations. 

President Jose Luis Capriles has also warned of an imminent food crisis, citing rising global demand. 

“The situation is dire,” he said, according a statement released by his office on Wednesday. 

But Caprilers government has been slow to respond. 

On Tuesday, the governor of the capital, San Jose, said he would call for a three-day state of national emergency, and that the country would have to import about 200,000 tons of food to meet demand.

“It is necessary to make necessary decisions in order to keep the economy moving,” Caprils spokesperson Carlos Cárdenas told reporters. 

In the state of Veración, where nearly one-third of the country is without power, state broadcaster RTN said about 5.7 million people in the area had been without water for six days. 

More than 7,000 families are reportedly without food and food distribution workers said the country was facing a food shortage of at least 1.3 million tons per day, according the United Nation. 

Capriles is also facing criticism from his ruling party for his handling of the crisis. 

Earlier this month, Caprile said he had ordered the government “to seize the reins of the economy”. 

“We must seize the power to act, seize the responsibility,” he told a news conference in December.

“We cannot have a crisis if we don’t seize the authority to act.” 

But on Tuesday, Caprinas government accused his opposition party of “blatantly” politicising the crisis by calling for national emergency and accusing the government of using food shortages to promote political goals. 

At the same time, the opposition has called for a “state of emergency” that would allow Caprilases government to “defend itself” against “a very hostile and vicious” opposition, the San Jose El País newspaper reported. 

Critics of the government have also accused the opposition of trying to destabilise the economy, with the opposition saying the government has used the crisis to attack the opposition. 

Despite the economic crisis, some analysts argue the country has not had enough time to prepare. 

Many people, who are living in shelters in Costa Rica, are still struggling with the severe shortage of food, according Toqueo, a supermarket in the state-owned city of San Jose. 

Toqueo said that many of its customers have been forced to leave the country because they cannot afford to buy their food. 

Some families have resorted to using food bank vouchers to buy groceries, and Toqueos staff have been working around the clock to distribute them.

“They’re running out of the food that they can afford to get,” Toqueon said.

“There are still people in shelters, but they’re not using their food to survive.” 

While the country continues to face severe food shortages and a potential humanitarian crisis, the government is not yet ready to take action, according RTN. 

Costa Rica has not experienced a major hurricane in more than 30 years, according its state weather agency, but the hurricane season has recently started and is expected to continue. 

There have been at least six major hurricanes over the past two decades, including Tropical Storm Gustav in 2006, which killed more than 500 people.

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