The 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck western China’s Sichuan province on May 12 will cost China US$145.77 billion (RMB1 trillion) in direct economic losses, Huang Xiaoxiang, a senior provincial government official, told an ongoing meeting in the province attended by a senior US business delegation, China Business News
reported. The delegation includes senior officials with the US government, NGOs and multinationals, including Johnson&Johnson, P&G, Honeywell and Cisco. “The earthquake is estimated to cripple Sichuan province’s GDP by 5 percentage points this year,” Huang said. “The provincial government has decided to rebuild the disaster area in three years with a total investment of at least RMB1 trillion.” The loss quoted by Huang doubles earlier estimates by some scholars and institutions.