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Mexico quake damage could surpass $2 billion

MEXICO CITY (AP) – President Enrique Pena Nieto said Wednesday that preliminary accounting of the damage caused by the two big earthquakes that hit Mexico this month could cost upward of $2 billion (38.1 billion pesos).

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 (13.6 billion pesos).

Repairing and rebuilding homes will be $550 million (10 billion pesos). Damage to cultural sites could reach $440 million (8 billion pesos).

A members of a City youth organization sweeps the front area of a building that collapsed in the last week 7.1 earthquake at the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Search teams are still digging through dangerous piles of rubble at sites around the city, hoping against the odds to find survivors after the Sept. 19 quake. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

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 (6.5 billion pesos) 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,” 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 Defense 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 Sept. 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. That one killed nearly 100 people.

Volunteers organize supplies at the Francisco Kino school, which was turned into a temporary shelter for residents evacuated from the large apartment complex in the Tlalpan neighborhood of Mexico City, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.  The 7.1 magnitude quake on Sept. 19 left the complex's 500 residents, mostly government employees, without a home after one of the 11 buildings collapsed and the others were damaged. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Volunteers organize supplies at the Francisco Kino school, which was turned into a temporary shelter for residents evacuated from the large apartment complex in the Tlalpan neighborhood of Mexico City, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. The 7.1 magnitude quake on Sept. 19 left the complex’s 500 residents, mostly government employees, without a home after one of the 11 buildings collapsed and the others were damaged. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

A volunteer caries wood pieces to strengthen a damaged building by the last week's 7.1 earthquake, in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Search teams are still digging through dangerous piles of rubble at sites around the city, hoping against the odds to find survivors after the Sept. 19 quake. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A volunteer caries wood pieces to strengthen a damaged building by the last week’s 7.1 earthquake, in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Search teams are still digging through dangerous piles of rubble at sites around the city, hoping against the odds to find survivors after the Sept. 19 quake. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

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