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. Maldives tsunami bill hits 4.8 billion dollars
MALE (AFP) Jan 05, 2005
The damage to the Maldives from the Asian tsunami catastrophe was Wednesday estimated at 4.8 billion dollars.

"This includes the damages that have been done to the livelihoods of everyone ranging from fishermen to traders in addition to the destruction caused to property," said Planning Minister Hamdoon Hameed.

He said damage to privately-owned resorts on the Indian Ocean atoll nation was at least 100 million dollars.

The official death toll in the Maldives is 82 killed and 26 still missing.

Government spokesman Ahmed Shaheed said they had re-established contact throughout the nation of 1,192 tiny islands scattered some 800 kilometresmiles) across the equator and the size of the destruction was just unfolding.

Maldives, which has said it would be submerged if the sea level rose by about a meter (three feet) due to the effects of global warming, was known as a paradise for holiday makers and had emerged Asia's most expensive destination.

Out of the 199 inhabited islands in the archipelago, 14 islands were completely evacuated, 79 islands do not have safe drinking water, 26 islands have no electricity, 24 islands have no telephones and four islands has no communications facility at all, according to officials.

The government said humanitarian relief has reached all 12,720 people left homeless after the December 26 disaster.

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