SANTIAGO, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter estimated on Tuesday that the damage caused by the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake and the ensuing Tsunami on Feb. 27 will reach 30 billion U.S. dollars.
He also said that 500 people have been confirmed dead in the quake, while 200 others remain missing. The majority of the casualties were at the coast areas.
The earthquake also left about 2 million people homeless. Broken bridges, damaged buildings and debris strewn highways made transit difficult in many areas.
Aftershocks continue mainly in the region of Bio Bio, 500 km south to Santiago, capital of Chile.