Tags: Haiti | quake | damages | tsunami

Haiti Quake Damage More Than '04 Tsunami

Wednesday, 17 February 2010 09:38 AM

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti may have caused as much as $13.2 billion in damages, four times initial Haitian government estimates, according to an Inter-American Development Bank study released Tuesday.

``This sum will be beyond the scope of one agency or one bilateral donor and so donor coordination will be key in any reconstruction effort,'' the report said.

The study was written by three economists, using data from 2,000 natural disasters over the past 40 years. They said the quake was ``even more damaging'' than the 2004 tsunami that struck parts of Asia.

``It is the most destructive event a country has ever experienced when measured in terms of the number of people killed as a share of the country's population and affected the capital city of the country,'' the report said.

The news came a day before French President Nicolas Sarkozy's historic visit to the country. He will be the first French president to visit in Haiti's 206-year history, marking a turning point in the two nations' complicated history of war and independence, revolt and kinship.

Sarkozy's trip is expected to last about five hours. It more than 200 years after slave-turned-revolutionary hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti the first free black nation in the Western hemisphere.

``My country is quite adamant to be with the Haitian people in this very challenging time. We are one country among others trying to support them,'' said Didier Le Bret, France's ambassador to Haiti. ``Due to our history, our common language, legal system, we feel we have to be here.''

Sarkozy is the latest in a line of world leaders to visit Haiti. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Monday and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is expected next week. ``All of the big guys are coming,'' said Haiti expert Robert Fatton, a professor at the University of Virginia.

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Wednesday, 17 February 2010 09:38 AM
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