Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bill for Haiti Quake Near $20b

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Damage from Haiti's catastrophic January 12 earthquake may be twice the value of the country's annual economy, Latin America's main development bank said yesterday.

A report by three Inter-American Development Bank economists found last month's earthquake to be more devastating than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was for Indonesia.

"It is the most destructive [natural disaster] a country has ever experienced when measured in terms of the number of people killed as a share of the country's population," the report says. The earthquake killed one in every 50 Haitians.

Economists Eduardo Cavallo, Andrew Powell and Oscar Becerra estimated the magnitude-7 quake wrought damage worth between US$8.1 billion ($11.6 billion) and US$13.9 billion ($20 million).

Haiti produced only US$7 billion worth of goods and services in 2008, according to the World Bank.

Because there is so little precedent for a disaster this size - killing more than 200,000 people and striking directly at the heart of the country's political and economic centre - Cavallo said they believe the final figure will be closer to their highest estimates.

That is devastating news for a country whose economy is the Western Hemisphere's smallest per capita.

The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and has a similarly sized population, had a US$46 billion economy in 2008.

Disasters on the scale of Haiti's quake tend to induce poverty that is difficult to reverse.

In many of the countries studied after their disasters, the authors found personal wealth remained 30 per cent lower 10 years after the events.

- AP

Source: NZH

No comments:

Post a Comment