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Total economic and insured losses quakes likely to exceed US$25bn and $5bn respectively

Moody's RMS, a leading global catastrophe risk modelling and solutions company, estimates economic losses from the moment magnitude (Mw) 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes that struck southern Turkiye on 6 February are likely to exceed $25bn, and the total insured loss is likely to exceed $5bn.

These loss estimates reflect the impact of the earthquakes in Turkiye only; losses in Syria are not included, says Moody's RMS. The insured losses include those to private insurers as well as to the Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP).

The loss estimates are based on an analysis of the earthquake sequence using Moody’s RMS Europe Earthquake Models and reflect damage to property and contents, and business interruption, across residential, commercial, and industrial lines in Turkiye. These estimates do not include post-event loss amplification or losses to non-modeled exposures such as transport and utility infrastructure.

On 6 February, an Mw7.8 earthquake struck east of the Turkish city of Nurdagi, triggering a strong earthquake sequence. This included an Mw-7.5 earthquake that struck south-southeast of Ekinözü. These earthquakes occurred in southern Turkiye near the northern border with Syria, causing widespread and severe damage across Turkiye and northern Syria, with shaking felt as far away as Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, and the State of Palestine.

The events ruptured multiple faults across the broad East Anatolia fault zone. The region is recognized as having a high earthquake hazard, with multiple earthquakes of Mw7.0 or greater since the 19th century.

Mr. Nilesh Shome, Vice President of Earthquake Model Development at Moody’s RMS said, “The earthquakes ruptured geometrically complex faults with multiple branches and were part of an active sequence that included over 400 events of Mw4 or greater. It is very unusual for an earthquake to trigger another event of such a magnitude as the Mw7.5 earthquake. The two largest earthquakes generated significant ground motions, and many areas were impacted by both events.”

Building code lapses

The devastation was widespread. According to the Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change, 11 provinces were severely affected by the earthquakes, and the damage was worst in Gaziantep, Hatay, and Kahramanmaras. As of 22 February, over 335,000 buildings are reported to have been damaged. A unique contributor to the overall loss is that most of the economic losses due to shaking can be attributed to structures with severe damage that have either already collapsed or will require demolition.

Observations from early damage reports issued by the Ministry and Turkish research reconnaissance indicate a systemic lack of adherence to seismic provisions, including government ‘amnesty’ programmes that have allowed continued occupancy of structures that do not meet seismic design requirements.

Ongoing research will aim to understand the full extent of these code lapses, together with any future code updates and enforcement mechanisms that could arise from this event. Moody's RMS anticipates that any tightening of the codes or more stringent enforcement will likely increase repair and rebuild times, especially as the number of destroyed structures is so extensive. The damage reports to date suggest that mid- and high-rise buildings contribute significantly to the overall event loss.


The road to recovery in Turkiye will take several years due to the scale of the damage, and complex macroeconomic conditions that existed prior to the events, including significant inflation, will hamper the reconstruction and add to the overall costs.

Ms. Laura Barksby, product manager at Moody’s RMS, concluded, “The events highlighted the devastation that can arise when large magnitude events coincide with vulnerable building stock. We continue to learn from each significant earthquake, and the events in Turkiye act as a wake-up call for other earthquake-prone regions, particularly concerning the true quality of the building stock.”

Reuters reported that the death toll from the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria had surpassed 50,000 after the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said the death toll in the country rose to 44,218 on 24 February. With Syria's latest announced a death toll of 5,914, the combined death toll in the two countries rose to above 50,000.



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