SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile's Treasury minister says initial projections put the damage from last month's major quake there at about $30 billion.
Chile's new president Sebastian Pinera, just sworn in yesterday, already is lobbying opposition lawmakers for a package that includes one-time cash handouts of $76 to each of the estimated 4.2 million quake survivors in need.
In his inauguration speech, Pinera repeatedly urged Chileans to display courage in the country's recovery. But a swarm of aftershocks persuaded many to run for the hills and stay there. Many tremors were strong enough to generate tsunamis. One aftershock was as big as the quake that devastated Haiti.
Chile's new leader promises to be the "reconstruction president." He told Chileans, "Let's dry our tears and put our hands to work."