The cost of rebuilding Haiti’s homes, schools, roads and other infrastructure could soar to nearly USD14 billion, according to a new study by economists at the Inter-American Development Bank. The study offers a preliminary estimate of the potential damages resulting from the January 12 earthquake, using simple regression techniques employing data from past natural disasters and their damage estimates. It takes into account several variables including the magnitude of the disaster, the number of fatalities, and the affected country’s population and per capita GDP. A detailed accounting of the cost of reconstruction will emerge in coming months as a full Post Disaster Needs Assessment is completed. But the new IDB study indicates the cost is likely to be larger than anticipated. The study calculates damages assuming either 200,000 or 250,000 people dead or missing (as of Feb. 11, the Haitian government had reported 230,000 dead). IDB economists Andrew Powell, Eduardo Cavallo and Oscar Becerra calculated a base estimate of USD8.1 billion for a 250,000 dead-or-missing toll, but they estimate this figure is likely to be at the low end and conclude that an estimate of USD13.9 billion is within the statistical margin of error.