Mexico earthquake damage could surpass 2 billion US dollars
President Enrique Pena Nieto said preliminary accounting of the damage caused by the two big earthquakes that hit Mexico this month could cost upward of 2 billion US dollars (£1.49 billion).
Pena Nieto stressed that damage assessments were continuing, especially in hard-hit Mexico City, but preliminary estimates put repairing and rebuilding schools in several states and the capital at nearly 750 million US dollars (£560 million).
Repairing and rebuilding homes will be 550 million US dollars (£410 million), while damage to cultural sites could reach 440 million US dollars (£330 million).
The government is making direct electronic transfers to victims of a magnitude 8.1 earthquake and aftershocks in Chiapas and Oaxaca to the tune of 356 million US dollars (£265 million) so they can begin repairing their homes.
"I hope that in the new year we will be able to have also a new Mexico, rebuilt and in normal conditions," Mr Pena Nieto said.
Authorities raised the death toll from last week's magnitude 7.1 earthquake in central Mexico to 337 on Wednesday.
National Civil Defence chief Luis Felipe Puente reported on Twitter that the dead included 198 in Mexico City.
He said there were also 74 in Morelos state, 45 in Puebla state, 13 in the State of Mexico, six in Guerrero state and one in Oaxaca state.
The September 19 quake collapsed at least 38 buildings in the capital, and search efforts continued at some sites.
It followed the even stronger earthquake less than two weeks earlier off the country's southern Pacific coast that especially hit Chiapas and Oaxaca which killed nearly 100 people.