Turkey-Syria earthquake reconstruction cost estimate soars to more than $100bn

UN figure nearly three times the amount previously suggested by the World Bank

Collapsed buildings in Hatay on Monday, a month after a massive earthquake struck south-eastern Turkey. AFP
Powered by automated translation

The estimated cost of reconstruction following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing over 50,000 people, is more than $100 billion, the UN said on Tuesday.

The Turkish government estimates that more than 200,000 buildings were destroyed alongside critical infrastructure in a zone of devastation spanning 500km.

The new estimate is nearly three times that given by the World Bank a week ago, putting the reconstruction cost at $35 billion.

Louisa Vinton of the UN Development Programme said the Turkish government, with support from her organisation, the World Bank and the EU, had calculated a far higher cost of damage.

“Already it is clear that just the damages alone will amount to more than $100 billion,” she said via video link from Gaziantep in Turkey. Recovery costs will be on top of that, she added.

As many as 14 million people have been displaced or had their livelihoods severely disrupted by the earthquake.

Once completed, the estimate will be the basis for a recovery and reconstruction donor conference in Brussels next week, she said.

Recovery costs, including efforts to build improved and more environmentally sustainable infrastructure, “will obviously exceed that amount”, Ms Vinton said.

The UNDP was “very disappointed and saddened” by the response to funding appeals until now, she added.

A $1 billion flash appeal made on February 16 is currently at just 9.6 per cent of the total, she said.

Updated: March 07, 2023, 3:06 PM