Turkiye: earthquakes' losses may reach up to 1% of the country's 2023 GDP; concern raises also about other cities' preparedness for earthquake

16 February 2023 — Daniela GHETU
The earthquake in Turkiye could result in a loss of up to 1% of the country's 2023 gross domestic product, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in a report quoted by Reuters. This loss will add to the current economic difficulties of the country.

Ten days after the devastating earthquake that hit Turkiye and neighboring Syria on Feb. 6, the death toll reached 41,000 people, while millions are in need of humanitarian aid, with many survivors having been left homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures.

In a report published over the weekend, the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation estimated USD 70.75 billion of the financial damage will be housing loss, USD 10.4 billion from loss in national income, and USD 2.91 billion in lost working days, middleeasteye.net reported.

It is noteworthy that the improper condition of a huge number of housing units in Turkiye was already known.

The World Bank estimated in 2021 that retrofitting or rebuilding millions of residential buildings in Turkiye to withstand a strong earthquake would cost about USD 465 billion, the bank considering that that "most housing stock in Turkish cities built prior to 2000" was "highly vulnerable to seismic and climate hazards" and required "urgent strengthening". Out of the total 6.7 million residential building in need of consolidation, about 4% have been updated. Moreover, according to Turkish sources, out of the thousands of residential buildings that have collapsed as a result of the earthquakes, more than half were built after 2001, which puts a significant question mark on the overall quality of the construction works and the strictness of the control exercised by the authorities regarding compliance with the construction standards.

Turkish residential buildings' preparedness for facing earthquakes is raising concerns with regards the entire territory of the country and, in particular, Istanbul, its largest city. According to the mayor of Istanbul, some 90,000 buildings could be at risk of collapsing if a major earthquake strikes.