One-year anniversary of 6 February earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Europe & Central Asia
Intensive day and night search and rescue in Kahramanmaraş, the epicentre of the earthquake
Republic of Türkiye, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction expresses solidarity with Türkiye, Syria, and the broader affected region on the one-year anniversary of the earthquakes that occurred on 6 February 2023. The impacts of the earthquakes caused over 50,000 deaths in Türkiye and more than 5,000 in Syria, and affected over 15 million people, underscoring the severe and far-reaching consequences of disasters.

The earthquakes resulted in the destruction of more than 38,000 buildings in Türkiye, with over 200,000 severely damaged. The international community, including the UN and its agencies, responded with extensive relief efforts to assist national and local authorities in managing the vast response.

As recovery and reconstruction efforts continue, the emphasis on building back better and leaving no one behind is imperative to enhance the disaster resilience of infrastructure, individuals, and communities in the affected region. While major earthquakes are infrequent, they account for 58% of disaster-related fatalities over the past two decades (2000 to 2019), emphasizing the urgency of proactive measures.

Furthermore, earthquakes have not only resulted in a substantial human toll but also incurred economic losses of over US$630 billion dollars, comprising 21% of total recorded economic losses caused by disasters from 2000 to 2019. Understanding historical data and geological studies helps identify regions most at risk, presenting opportunities to implement effective strategies to mitigate their impact.

Aligned with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, efforts should focus on preventing the creation of risk by updating and enforcing building codes to ensure new constructions are both climate and disaster resilient. Additionally, reducing existing risks involves conducting detailed assessments of the vulnerability of current structures and reinforcing those deemed at-risk, promoting a comprehensive approach to disaster prevention.

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