US study describes Haiti quake as 'worst disaster in modern history'

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Washington/Port-au-Prince, Feb.17 (ANI): A study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has declared and described the devastation caused by the Haiti earthquake as the worst destructive disaster in modern history.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake, which killed up to 250,000 people, has caused as much as 14 billion dollars in damage, making it the most destructive natural disaster in modern history, The Times quoted the IADB study, as saying.

"While the ballpark estimates of the number of people killed or missing are similar to the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, the population of Haiti is only a small fraction of the one of the Asian countries, making this particular event more damaging than that infamous tsunami," the study, by three economists linked to the bank, said.

"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 center of commerce, government and communication," it said.

"Indeed, in this respect the Haiti earthquake was vastly more destructive than the Indonesian tsunami of 2004 and the cyclone that hit Myanmar (Burma)in 2008," the statement continued.

"It caused five times more deaths per million inhabitants than the second-ranking natural killer, the 1972 earthquake in Nicaragua."

The 14 billion-dollar figure is the Washington-based bank's upper estimate for the cost of reconstructing homes, schools, streets and other infrastructure in Haiti following the January 12 quake.

Using the official Haitian government death toll of 230,000 dead led to a damage estimate of 7.7 billion dollars, with a range between 4.4 billion dollars and 13.2 billion dollars.

The authors said the damages could be in the upper range of the estimate.

The IDB said a more detailed accounting of the situation would come in the following months but that its preliminary study showed that the reconstruction cost was likely to be far higher than anticipated. (ANI)

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