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Several dead as Hurricane Otto strikes Costa Rica

Traveling at 26 kilometers per hour (16 miles per hour), Hurricane Otto has claimed several lives, injured dozens and damaged property in the Central American country. Three days of national mourning have been announced.

At least nine people have been killed after Hurricane Otto struck Costa Rica on Friday. Five were killed in Upala and four others in the nearby town of Bagaces in the country's north, where the damage was the worst. According to the Red Cross, at least 25 people were missing.

President Luis Guillermo Solis announced three days of national mourning, tweeting several messages referring to the emergency situation the country faced.

Videos of the ravaged regions showed flooding and mud-covered houses, many of which had lost their roofs. Nearly 1,200 houses were damaged and dams, bridges and roads were destroyed. Solis said the storm could damage Costa Rica's coffee and agricultural businesses.

Otto's onset caused a woman's death in Nicaragua, with three others dying in Panama. One child was killed on the way to school when the car his mother was driving was hit by a tree. The country also experienced severe flooding.

Hurricane Otto, which struck Nicaragua on Thursday as a Category 2 storm was downgraded to a tropical storm and was moving westward from Costa Rica towards El Salvador at a speed of 26 kilometers per hour, with maximum sustained winds reaching 95 kilometers per hour. The US National Hurricane Center in Miami said on Friday the storm would continue moving west-northwest and was not expected to return to land.

mg/sms (dpa, AP)

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