World Bank estimates Syria earthquake damage at $5 billion

Disaster is expected to cause a decline in economic activity that will further weigh on the country’s growth prospects

People walk past the dome of Maland mosque, over the rubble of the structure that fell in the earthquake, in Idlib, Syria. EPA
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The February 6 earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria caused an estimated $5.1 billion in direct physical damages in Syria, a World Bank report has said.

“The current value of the damaged and destroyed capital stock is estimated at about 10 per cent of gross domestic product,” said the World Bank.

The report, titled Syria Global Rapid Post-Disaster Damage Estimation (Grade), was released on Friday.

These losses compound years of destruction, suffering and hardship the people of Syria have been enduring,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Middle East Department.

“The disaster will cause a decline in economic activity that will further weigh on Syria’s growth prospects.”

The widespread damages affected four provinces, where about 10 million Syrians live.

“Reflecting a significant degree of uncertainty around this preliminary assessment, estimates of the total direct damages using replacement costs range between $2.7 and $7.9 billion,” the report said.

The report does not cover broader economic effects and losses for the Syrian economy, such as production or business interruption, loss of income, cost for temporary housing and demolition costs; these require a more in-depth assessment.

Aleppo was the most severely hit governorate with 45 per cent of the estimated damages valued at $2.3 billion followed by Idlib with 37 per cent ($1.9 billion) and Lattakia with 11 per cent ($549 million), the report said.

The subsequent earthquake on February 20 caused additional damage to the border regions in Lattakia, Idlib, Hama and Aleppo, with Idlib and Lattakia the worst affected. Continued aftershocks are also likely to add to these damage estimates over time.

Direct damages to residential buildings account for nearly half (48.5 per cent) of total damages, estimated at $2.5 billion, while damages in non-residential buildings account for a third (33.5 per cent) of the total impact, estimated at $1.7 billion.

Infrastructure damages account for 18 per cent of total damages, estimated at $0.9 billion. This includes transport, critical power and water infrastructure, and information and communications technology, the report said.

The damage estimates to the residential and non-residential sectors include direct damages to all buildings and structures, including cultural heritage sites in Aleppo, Margat and Kobani.

The World Bank said it has also started a Syria rapid damage and needs assessment, which will provide a more detailed sector by sector assessment and include estimates of economic losses and recovery needs.

On February 27, the lender made an assessment of the physical damages caused by the earthquakes in Turkey using the Grade methodology, estimating damage worth more than $34 billion in the country.

Updated: March 04, 2023, 5:50 AM