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Beyond the Nuclear Nightmare: Quake Takes a Daunting Toll

Publication Date: 3/23/2011
Author: Debra K. Rubin and Tudor Van Hampton
Format: HTML

With estimates of at least 110,000 buildings damaged or destroyed and 20,000 fatalities in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, rebuilding Japan will be a long and expensive undertaking, dwarfing the financial impact of the 1995 Kobe quake disaster. The World Bank estimates dam- age at up to $235 billion, 4% of Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP), compared with $100 billion for Kobe, or 2% of GDP. Private insurers could pay up to $33 billion to cover the destruction, compared with $783 million for Kobe, according to the bank.

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