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Bam earthquake damage estimated at $1.9 billion

An official in Housing and Urban Development Ministry said in Tehran on Wednesday the earthquake which devastated the ancient city of Bam last December is estimated to costs rls 15,000 billion ($1.9 billion), IRNA repored.

Deputy minister for engineering and construction Mohsen Akbarzadeh said the damage was in housing, pubic buildings, agriculture and infrastructure.

He said the "financial damage to housing was estimated to cost rls 7,000 billion and human-related compensation at rls 5,000 billion."

He added that the cost of the reconstruction of the city is higher than the damage inflicted. Based on a plan, the reconstruction of the ity is slated to start early next Iranian year (March 20) and complete by Summer 2005.

Akbarzadeh, however, cautioned that "the period for social rebuilding is unclear."

He said that preferential loans with low interest rates is earmarked for the owners of the devastated houses.

The government has already allocated a 35-million-dlr budget to help reconstruct the agricultural infrastructures of the quake-shattered Bam.

Rls 20 billion of the financial assistance would be spent on restoration of the wells and the canals used for the irrigation of the farms.

He added that some dlrs 15 million would be later on spent to support the animal husbandry in the city.

He said teams of his ministry have been dispatched to the areas rocked by the earth tremor adding that they have managed to repair 10 of the 65 wells that nourishes the bam farms.

A major quake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the open-ended Richter scale rocked the southeastern city of Bam killing in exceed of 40,000 on December 26.

The historic walled heart of Bam was razed by the temblor, its renowned mud-brick architecture proving ill equipped to withstand the magnitude of the quake.

Iran is situated on some of the world`s most active seismic fault lines and quakes of varying magnitudes are of usual occurrence.

... Payvand News - 2/5/04 ... --

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