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Turkey’s post-earthquake damage estimated at more than $103 billion: ministry report

Turkey earthquake

An aerial photo shows collapsed buildings in Antakya on February 11, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast earlier in the week. The death toll from a massive earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria climbed to more than 20,000 on February 9, 2023, as hopes faded of finding survivors stuck under rubble in freezing weather. Hassan AYADI / AFP

The cost to Turkey of last month’s two massive earthquakes is nearly TL 2 trillion ($103.6 billion), with TL 1.6 trillion ($84 billion) of the total comprising direct physical damage, local media reported on Friday, citing estimates from a report by the Treasury and Finance Ministry.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit 11 Turkish provinces in the country’s south and southeast as people were sleeping on Feb. 6 was followed by numerous aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor, leading to the death of more than 48,000 people in Turkey and wreaking devastation in the region.

The ministry on Friday released a report on its website titled “2023 Report on Kahramanmaraş and Hatay Earthquakes,” saying the quakes’ direct physical damage to buildings, residences, workplaces, factories and machinery and equipment cost the country $84 billion.

With an additional TL 351.4 billion ($18 billion) spent on emergency relief to the region, debris removal activities, insurance payments and payments due to loss of income and a decrease in national income, the disaster’s cost to Turkey is approximately TL 2 trillion ($103.6 billion), according to the report.

It was further stated that the amount corresponded to nearly 9 percent of Turkey’s expected national income for the year 2023, showing that Turks experienced six times more material damage and losses than they did in the 1999 earthquake that had a magnitude of 7.5 and hit the country’s mostly industrial and densely populated Marmara region.

The earthquake in Marmara killed over 17,000 people, according to official figures, in addition to damaging 285,000 buildings and leaving 600,000 people homeless. The social and economic wounds inflicted by the 45-second temblor took years to heal.

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