Search and rescue efforts continue on collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkiye (Photo Credit: Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Damages caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkiye and Syria in February exceed $100 billion in Turkiye alone, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) official.
“It’s clear from the calculations being done to date that the damage figure presented by the government and supported by … international partners would be in excess of $100bn,” UNDP official Louisa Vinton said during a video conference on 7 March from Gaziantep, a Turkish city devastated by the earthquake.
Recovery and reconstruction costs “will obviously exceed that amount,” she added.
Vinton said that the calculation for the estimated damages in Turkiye alone serves as a basis for the upcoming donor conference on 16 March in Brussels, Belgium.
Meanwhile, the World Bank estimated direct damages in Turkiye from the earthquake at $34.2 billion but said that the costs would be much higher if one calculates recovery and reconstruction costs, as well as the losses to Turkiye’s gross domestic product.
Currently, about 1.5 million people affected by the earthquake in Turkiye live in tents, while another 46,000 have been moved to container homes, according to the government.
As of 28 February, over 40,000 Syrians have fled back to their home country from Turkiye following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
Ever since the quake, the Turkish government has eased restrictions on immigration. Syrian opposition groups have reportedly been recording immigration movements at four crossings on the Syrian-Turkish border, according to a media official at the militant-held Bab Al-Hawa crossing in northern Syria.
Around 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently reside in Turkiye due to Ankara opening its border to provide safe passage for refugees following the start of the US-backed war in Syria in 2011. Since the beginning of the war, over 13.4 million Syrian refugees have fled their country.
Despite Turkiye opening its border due to the war, Ankara’s policy toward Syrian refugees had become stricter before the February earthquake. On 3 January, the Turkish Ministry of Affairs and Immigration Management disclosed that 280,206 immigrants were denied entry into Turkiye and 58,758 Syrian refugees deported back to Damascus in 2022.