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Earthquake to cost Turkey around $84 billion

Turkey’s worst earthquake in almost a century could cost the country up to $84.1 billion, says a business group, while a government official put the figure at more than $50 billion.

The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria from last Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake approached around 36,000 and looks set to rise, as the focus of the response switched from rescuing survivors trapped under the rubble to providing shelter, food and psychosocial care.

A report published at the weekend by the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation put the cost of the damage at $84.1 billion to $70.8 billion from the repair of thousands of homes, $10.4 billion from loss of national income and $2.9 billion from loss of working days.

The group said the main costs would be rebuilding housing, transmission lines and infrastructure, and meeting the short, medium and long-term shelter needs of the hundreds of thousands that have been left homeless.

President Tayyip Erdogan has said the state will complete housing reconstruction within a year and the government was preparing a programme to “make the country stand up again”.

Some 13.4 million people live in the 10 provinces hit by the quake, or 15% of Turkey’s population, and it produces close to 10% of the GDP.

The government did forecast growth at 5% in 2022 and estimated growth at 5.5% in 2023 before the quake struck.

Turkey is due to hold its presidential and parliamentary elections this summer which will be the biggest challenge to Erdogan during his two decades in power.

A three-month state of emergency has however been declared in the 10 provinces affected by the natural disaster.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas