Saturday, May 17, 2008


CRACKED dams and buckled roads, collapsed buildings and toppled factories - China has begun tallying losses from the calamitous earthquake that struck earlier this week and already estimates are that the damage will cost the country $US21billion

With the death toll from the disaster forecast to rise as high as 50,000, China's main focus yesterday remained on rescue and relief for survivors of the 7.9-magnitude quake that hit Sichuan province on Monday.

Given the extended destruction of roads, schools, homes, businesses and other infrastructure, AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe risk-modelling firm, said it estimated that losses to insured and uninsured property would probably exceed $US20billion.

The impact of the disaster on share prices has been limited.

China's economic planning agency has imposed price caps on basic goods and transport in quake-hit areas, warning that price gouging would be punished. The National Development and Reform Commission said it would restrict prices for food, drinking water and transport in central Sichuan and Gansu provinces because of rising prices there...AP

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