- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ROME (AP) - Italy’s interior minister has estimated that at least euro12 billion (about $16 billion) will be needed to reconstruct the area ravaged by an earthquake more than a week ago.

Roberto Maroni says the government would consult with local administrators while it seeks resources. Maroni was speaking late Tuesday on state TV broadcaster RAI.

The 6.3-magnitude quake that struck the central Abruzzo region on April 6 killed 294 people. It leveled or damaged tens of thousands of homes and other buildings.

Of the 1,467 buildings checked as of Monday, authorities said 53 percent were deemed habitable, while the rest had various degrees of damage that made them at least temporarily uninhabitable.

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