Chilean president estimates earthquake damage at 30 billion dollars

12:36, March 13, 2010      

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Chilean President Sebastian Pinera speaks at his first press conference since he took office on March 11, in Santiago, capital of Chile, March 12, 2010. (Xinhua/Wan Houde)

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Friday that the property damage caused by the 8.8- magnitude earthquake that hit the country on Feb. 27 was estimated at 30 billion U.S. dollars, when announcing the budget readjustment for this year.

"There are not definite amounts, but the property losses caused by the earthquake and (the ensuing) tsunami are estimated at 30 billion dollars," Pinera said at a press conference.

"The damage is present on houses, hospitals, schools, infrastructure and production systems, among others," Pinera said.

Pinera announced a change of the country's budget for this year and a readjustment in his government's program due to the latest events.

"We will use some international credits because Chile has a very low external debt," Pinera noted.

He said: "When the circumstances change, the priorities change, and the governments have to change their priorities." He announced the creation of a fund for the country's reconstruction.

Pinera was sworn into office just on Thursday.

Source: Xinhua
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