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Chilean President Estimates Earthquake Damage at US$30 Bln

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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 US$30 billion, 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 US$30 billion," 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.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2010)


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