Factbox: Losses and damage from the earthquake

Mona El-Nahhas , Tuesday 21 Feb 2023

The 7.8 Magnitude earthquake that hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on 6 February left thousands of people dead or injured, hundreds of buildings collapsed, roads seriously damaged, and sewage, water supply networks, and power stations out of operation.

Aytekin Mumoglu, 46, climbs the rubble at the place where his house was, a day after a 6.4-magnitude
Aytekin Mumoglu, 46, climbs the rubble at the place where his house was, a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the region, in the coastal city of Samandag on February 21, 2023. AFP


Here is a list of the damage in both countries:

TURKEY: The earthquake hit an area of 500 km2 and 10 southern cities, where about 13.5 million people live, including 3.6 million Syrian refugees who fled the Civil War in their home country. The most afflicted cities are Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, and Hatay. Financial losses in Turkey are estimated at about $84 billion.

FATALITIES: According to figures announced by Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday, 40,689 people died and more than 108,000 were injured.

BUILDINGS: Turkish Minister of the Environment and Urbanisation Murat Korum said on Sunday that around 100,000 buildings were destroyed. He said that specialised teams including more than 7,000 experts had completed examining 481,865 buildings in the area of the earthquake to define the amount of the damage. Nearly 61,722 buildings now need to be demolished because of serious damage. The teams concluded that 13,917 buildings have medium damage, 121,515 buildings are slightly damaged, and 229,23 are safe.

EVACUATIONS: Around four million people have been evacuated from the afflicted cities and taken to safe areas. 172,000 tents with an interior area of 20 m each have been allocated. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the implementation of an ambitious reconstruction plan that will start next month and last for one year. It aims to establish 30,000 housing units for people who lost their homes in the earthquake.

As a temporary solution, Turkey has prepared around 1,600 housing containers, in addition to 2,000 temporary pre-made housing units and 800 university residences in 80 provinces. People affected by the earthquake can reside in hotels prepared for the purpose or rent apartments. The government will offer each family 2,000 to 5,000 Turkish lira to help with rent, in addition to 15,000 lira to help them move house. Ten thousand lira will be given as urgent aid for each family afflicted by the quake.

SYRIA: The earthquake, the fifth deadliest this century, hit the northwestern area of Syria, leaving the four cities of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and Latakia with a great deal of damage. The earthquake added to the existing crisis in Syria, which is already torn by a 12-year Civil War. Accurate estimates of the losses are difficult, as the country is divided into areas of influence reflecting the divisions of the Civil War.

FATALITIES: According to official statistics, 5,840 people were killed and more than 7,000 injured in the earthquake. About 1,400 bodies of Syrians who died in Turkey have been repatriated to northwestern Syria through the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing. More than 6,000 Syrian refugees have left Turkey for northwestern Syria to bury their relatives.

BUILDINGS: The amount of damage to buildings affected by the earthquake is being assessed, with figures announced so far not being accurate. In rebel-controlled areas, more than 550 buildings were completely demolished and 1,500 partially damaged, the Syrian Civil Defence Organisation stated. In government-controlled areas, some 500 buildings have been destroyed, according to statements by the Ministry of Local Administration.

The costs of reconstruction in Syria have not yet been defined. Taking into consideration the lack of monetary liquidity caused by the international sanctions imposed on Syria, the reconstruction process will be a difficult one. According to Syrian officials, external financial aid, especially from the Arab countries, will be the only source of funds.

The UAE has announced it is giving $50 million to earthquake victims in Syria. Qatar has given 50 million riyals to people in Syria and Turkey, together with 10,000 portable housing units for earthquake victims in both countries. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have launched donation campaigns to help people in the two afflicted countries, with millions of dollars collected so far. Saudi Arabia is also providing 3,000 temporary housing units for people in the two countries.

EVACUATIONS: The situation in northwestern Syria is dire, with aid slow to arrive in a region ravaged by years of conflict. One UN official said that 5.3 million people had been left homeless in northwestern Syria facing freezing conditions and a lack of heating, food, clean water or medical care. Turkey has announced that it will not receive a new flux of Syrian migrants, stressing that the border crossings are open only for humanitarian aid heading to Syria.

It is still early to know how the Turkish government will deal with the crisis of the Syrian refugees who lost shelter and property in the quake, especially amid some Turkish voices calling for them to be sent back to Syria.

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