Saturday, February 24, 2007

Impacts of Izmit, Turkey earthquake

1995 Turkish Earthquake


An earthquake measuring 6.8 - 7.0 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake occurred on Tuesday 17th August at 3.02 a.m. local time (12 am GMT). The earthquake lasted 45 seconds.

The epicentre of the earthquake was near the industrial city of Izmit, about 55 miles east of Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkey sits between two huge tectonic plates, Eurasia and Africa/Arabia, which are grinding into one another, north to south. The Turkish landmass is a small tectonic plate, which is being squeezed like a pip between the two giants. This movement has created the Anatolian fault (conservative margin). The conservative margin slipped causing the earthquake. Many of Turkey’s major cities are located along this fault.

So What?
In many towns and cities affected by the earthquake population levels have been increasing rapidly. People have been migrating from rural to urban areas to escape military crackdown by the Turkish army and rush to the big city in search of a better life. Most people who move to urban areas have little money. They live crammed into desperately crowded poor housing. Many live So what?
In accommodation which they built themselves. These buildings are known locally as gecekondus. The name means built in a night. These buildings easily collapsed during the earthquake.
It was those among the poor who had saved enough to move into tower blocks who were most affected. Turkey has a building code, which is as stringent as California’s but it is rarely enforced. This cheaply built, illegal housing lies at the heart of the disaster, say engineering experts. It accounts for why so many houses just crumpled like packs of cards and why older or more solid buildings remained intact.

In Turkey the rate of urbanisation has been very high and unfortunately the control and supervision of the building quality has not been as good as it should be. Turkey's Chamber of Commerce estimates that some 65 per cent of all buildings are constructed without a permit or with scant attention to building regulations. More than half the population in Istanbul is living in illegal accommodation, it says.

The immediate hazards were the collapse of poorly constructed buildings (many of which did not meet Turkey’s building standards) and damage to power lines and pipes causing fires. People were trapped in houses as they slept and many were killed by falling masonry. In all, 17,000 people died and over 27,000 were injured. Tidal waves flooded farmland on the coast causing damage to crops. Fire at an oil refinery caused air pollution.

The longer-term consequences were that 200,000 people were made homeless and had to live in tents for many weeks with no running water or proper sanitation. People suffered from diarrhoea due to lack of clean water and untreated sewage contaminated rivers killing fish.


Many countries, including the UK, The USA, Germany, France and Japan all provided Turkey with aid. The short-term aid included medical supplies, tents, blankets and Emergency Rescue Teams. In the long term Turkey will need assistance in planning for natural disasters (education) and money to repair its infrastructure.


Name: Julia Loh

Impact of Earthquake in economy and industry
The impact of the earthquake on the population and the economy was mainly felt in seven cities in the Marmara Region (Kocaeli, Sakarya, Yalova, İstanbul, Bolu, Bursa, and Eskisehir). The death toll was 18,373 with injuries to another 48,901 people. Reportedly 93,000 housing units and 15,000 small business units collapsed or were badly damaged. Another 220,000 housing units and 21,000 small business units sustained damage to a lesser degree (Erdik and Durukal, 2003). The type of the construction of the multi-story apartments in Turkey is claimed to be a very important factor and has exacerbated the losses.
The Marmara Region, where the major impact of the earthquake occurred, is very important to the Turkish Economy both in terms of production and consumption capacities. This area accounts for 23% of the total population of Turkey. The seven cities Kocaeli, Sakarya, Yalova, İstanbul, Bolu, Bursa, and Eskisehir represent 34.7 % of Turkish GNP, further these cities produce 46.7% of total industry value added. The Marmara Region, mainly Kocaeli, Sakarya, and Yalova is the center for the Turkish oil, raw material for textile, automobile, petrochemical, and tire industries.
Impact of the Earthquake on Government Budget
The negative impacts of the earthquake on the Turkish government’s budget can be summarized in three points: The cost of rehabilitation and reconstruction of public buildings damaged by the earthquake, the postponed taxes that should have been paid by the earthquake victims and the increase in unemployment compensation. Under these circumstances, the negative effect of the earthquake on the government’s budget is estimated to be approximately US$6.2 billion of which US$3.5 billion went to build housing units or reconstruct the damaged ones for either temporary or permanent accommodations. The government decided not to collect principal and the interest for 3 years from people with loans from the state bank. In addition, low interest loans were offered to assist with the rebuilding effort.

The Impact of the Earthquake on Industry
The main heavy industry of Turkey is located in the Marmara Region for example, “automobile manufacturing, petrochemicals, motor and railway vehicle manufacture and repair, basic metal works, tire manufacturing, textile, sugar processing, paper mills, power plants and tourism” (Erdik and Durukal, 2003). Most of the roads, railways, pipelines, transmission lines, and energy distribution, communication channels were badly damaged and the cost of reconstruction is estimated to be US$200 million in the short-run and US$400 million in the long-run.
As a result of these, the estimated loss in the value added in the manufacturing industry was US$600 to 700 million and growth rate of the manufacturing industry was expected to decline by 1.6 points. The loss in production and sales is estimated to be approximately US$222.1 million in total for manufacturing, most of which are based on oil, coal, and gas production. Although there was no significant direct damage to the agricultural sector, public institutions (like Forestry Ministry, State Water Administration) that are directly involved in agricultural activities experienced a loss of around US$870 billion due to earthquake damage.
In the case of the banking sector, the negative impacts can be summarized as: Further worsening of the performance of loan portfolios of the commercial banks, difficulty of the financial status of state banks because of the increased maturity mismatch and liquidity squeeze due to the deference of the existing loans up to 3 years, providing interest rate subsidies, and increased risk of default.
When we look at the cost of earthquake damage on social sectors like education, health, environment, and employment, the magnitude of the negative impact of natural disasters on a country’s economy becomes more obvious but harder to quantify. In the Marmara Region, 43 schools collapsed and 377 schools were badly damaged. The total damage cost to school facilities is estimated to be US$107 million in rehabilitation. The reconstruction cost of hospitals is estimated totaling US$19 million.
The cost of the earthquake on industries can be summarized as: Business interruption, loss of labor supply, reduction in capital (due to damaged buildings, machines, stocks, etc.), reduction in production and sales when factories had to shut down temporarily, psychological distress, a reduction in tax revenue, and an increase in unemployment compensation.
The tremendous loss from the August 1999 earthquake forced the Turkish government to seek out and apply risk management strategies. In order to compensate the earthquake costs, US$2.5 billion has come from international foundations. “Claims paying capacity of TCIP for year 2002 is approximately US$1 billion including reinsurance (US$840 million), premium reserves and the credit obtained from the World Bank” (Gulkan, 2002). Most arrangements for distributing these funds are made by the Treasury Department of Turkey.

Table 1. Earthquake Losses in Turkey: 1992-1999

Earthquake(Date, Lives Lost HousingUnits damaged HousingUnits Collapsed # Of People Left Homeless Estimated Total Economic Loss, in $B
Erzincan(13.3.1992) 645 8000 1450 8000 0.75
Dinar(1.10.1995) 100 6500 2043 0.25
Adana-Ceyhan(28.6.1998) 150 21,000 2000 24,000 0.5
Kocaeli(17.8.1999) >18000 320,000 26,000 600,000 >20
Düzce(12.11.1999) 812 10,100 800 1
Source: Gülkan, 2002.

Vertical line designates the August 1999 earthquake.

In sum, the World Bank and SPO, and using theory-driven simulation methods estimate the negative impact of the earthquake on the Turkish economy intuitively and with the assumption of “no policy change”. Not only did Turkey suffer great economic loss, it also had to face high unemployment rate.

Reported by: Sarah Seo (3Grace)

Environmental Impacts of Earthquake

The most important known environmental problems, associated with the
recent earthquake, are marine oil pollution, potential consequences of air pollution, and the current situation at the Tupras Oil Refinery. Apart from the Tupras Oil Refinery and the AKSA Chemical Plant, there is no information on other important hazardous installations damaged.

Oil and oil products seriously pollute the Izmit Bay. Both the sea and coastline are contaminated. There is an obvious need for international assistance to clean up the Izmit Bay.

One of the most pressing problems is disposal of rubble. According to
local authorities, dumping of rubble into the sea has been prohibited. The Government is calling for immediate action to prevent the flow of
demolition waste, originating from the earthquake, from reaching the sea and riverbeds.

Some areas in Izmit and surrounding districts may have experienced
significant concentrations of pollutants, including airborne particles,
during the fire at the Tupras Oil Refinery. Soil and fresh water pollution is not excluded. Soil pollution may further lead to contamination of agricultural products (including green vegetables), thus presenting a risk to human health. Lake pollution may cause contamination of drinking water.

With regard to marine pollution, the situation at the Tupras Oil Refinery is under control. However, contents of the damaged tanks (such as crude oil, gasoline, etc.) are completely exposed to the atmosphere. Volatile organic compounds are evaporating and causing air pollution. A new fire could easily start at any moment.

The present report covers emergency aspects of environmental impacts of
the recent earthquake, and does not specifically address possible
long-term consequences and related rehabilitation


The Ministry of Environment recommends specifically that international
cooperation is required in regard to the following:

* Determination of the amount of oil and oil product which leaked
into the Marmara Sea;
* Determination of oil pollution in the Marmara Sea;
* Prevention of oil pollution in marine and coastal areas;
* Determination and prevention of soil pollution in the refinery area;
* Designation of location of treatment plants of industrial facilities
and chemical substances;
* Determination of concentrations and amounts of emissions of toxic
chemicals and air pollutants during the refinery fire;
* Determination of the concentration and amount of toxic gases
dispersed by release from the AKSA plant, and their effects;
* Determination of air pollution caused by the Tupras Refinery;
* Sampling and analyzing soil at 0-15 km from refinery to determine
level of pollution
* Preparing a sampling and analysis programmed for products on store at
the refinery.

It is further recommended that potential donor countries consider
possibilities to provide an urgent assistance to Turkey in conformity with
the following identified priority needs:

* Long oil barriers;
* Large oil skimmers and/or oil pollution response teams with equipment;
* Several pumps for seawater with capacity 1500 cubic m/hour (fresh
water pipeline in Izmit is still not operational);
* 8-inch hoses (at least 12 km);
* Large fire monitors;
* Special fire fighting foam (reserves have been almost exhausted);
* Satellite imagery of the Izmit Bay (use of such imagery will be left
at the discretion of the competent Turkish authorities).


By: Yan Rong

The politics of earthquake
Earthquakes sometimes do more than destroy lives and buildings - they can reshape the political landscape.
-Julia Loh
3 Grace

Turkey, Izmit-
The earthquake in Turkey, August 1999, killed about 15,000 people. Prompt action by Greece in sending help led to a rapprochement between two traditional enemies. The Greek Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, became something of a hero in Turkey. Greece announced that it was supporting Turkish entry into the European Union with Mr. Papandreou declaring: "We want to become the steam engine inside the EU to help Turkey's European course."

The earthquake also showed the Turkish political establishment that it had to reform. The powerful role of the military in Turkey was seriously questioned because the army failed to respond to the disaster quickly, arguing that it was up to the civilian authorities. The collapse of so many modern buildings revealed that building regulations had simply been ignored in the rush to industrialize the mud plains east of Istanbul, despite warnings that this was earthquake territory of the most vulnerable kind.

When the terrible earthquake struck northern Turkey last August, Papandreou appeared on Greek television immediately with a dramatic appeal.

'I ask all Greeks who are able to do anything they can. Please help Turkey!' The first foreign emergency team to arrive in Istanbul was a specialist unit from Greece, provoking an unprecedented outburst of gratitude from the Turkish public and media. Papandreou and Cem have built on this friendship borne of tragedy.
In December, the Greeks dropped their objections to Turkey's application for EU membership, demolishing at a stroke the corner stone of Greek foreign policy of the last. Buildings were reduced to rubble in Izmit, the city nearest to the epicenter.

A constructive, friendly relationship between the two most powerful Balkan countries, Greece and Turkey, will have a much greater impact on the region than much of the international community's current efforts in Kosovo and elsewhere. There are a lot of people whom crossed their fingers to the flourish of Turkey.

In Athens, leaders talked of the beginning of a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, perhaps leading to a reconsideration of Turkey’s quest to join the European Union (hitherto adamantly opposed by the Greeks). Should an improvement in Greek-Turkish relations prove lasting, it might even open a way to settle the problem of Cyprus. And one of Turkey’s most effective supporters was Israel, which sent doctors, field hospitals, medicines and other critical supplies. The cooperative relationship between Turkey and Israel, denounced in much of the Islamic world but important to both partners, proved its value in this crisis.

It soon transpired, buildings that collapsed tended to be built of substandard materials. Construction companies and building inspectors had conspired to permit this to happen and, when the truth became evident, a Turkish newspaper showed a building, where dozens had died, with the headline THE PRICE OF CORRUPTION. Soon the Turkish (and international) press was accusing not only local contractors and inspectors of corruption, but also the government of letting it take place. The Turkish government had to fend off charges of dishonesty and incompetence. Although mostly, the impact of the earthquake is of negative consequences, there are also positive consequences.

For a moment, Turkey was able to forget its struggle with the Kurdish question: Kurds as well as Turks had been killed and maimed, and Turks and Kurds had helped each other through the crisis. From the Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey to the Kurdish neighborhoods of Istanbul, Kurds sent help to the stricken area. There was no rejoicing in the southeast over the misfortune of the northwest. Turkey had a glimpse of the country it might become should it be able to resolve the Kurdish question.


Julia Loh

Social, Health and Psychological Impacts of Earthquakes: Case Study: Izmit, Turkey Earthquake

Earthquakes may result in disease, lack of basic necessities, loss of life, higher insurance premiums, general property damage, road and bridge damage, and collapse of buildings or destabilization of the base of buildings which may lead to collapse in future earthquakes. Disasters usually have major social and political effects; not much about the health and psychological effects.
In the Tukey Earthquake, there were not many disease outbreaks as bodies were quickly buried in mass graves, meaning they dug out a big hole and put the bodies in, so therefore they managed to stop a huge outbreak of diseases that would usually occur after a disaster. The Turkey earthquake killed over 17,000 people in northwestern Turkey.

Some buildings withstood the force of the earthquake, while others, beside them, had collapsed. This was not a case of the surviving buildings standing on firmer foundations, as often happens in large cities. In the Turkish earthquake in 1999, buildings that collapsed tended to be built of substandard materials. Construction companies and building inspectors had conspired to permit this to happen and, when the truth became evident, a Turkish newspaper showed a building, where dozens had died, with the headline “THE PRICE OF CORRUPTION”. Soon the Turkish (and international) press was accusing not only local contractors and inspectors of corruption, but also the government of letting it take place.

In conclusion, extents of the earthquakes can be cantrolled to a certain extent by man. For example, the materials used to build buildings in earthquake proned areas should not be of substandard materials. As we can see form the turkey earthquake, the beakout of diseases can be indeed controlled, by simply burying the dead. It will stop the bacteria and infections form the dead body to travel to the other surviving people.

Martha Morais

In Conclusion
The Izmit earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4, which lasted for 45 seconds, killed over 17,000 in northwestern Turkey on 17 August 1999.
The earthquake had a rupture length of 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the city of Düzce to all the way into the Sea of Marmara along the Gulf of Izmit. Movement along the rupture was as large as 5.7 meters (18.7 ft). (Reilinger, et al., 2000)
This earthquake occurred in the North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ). The Anatolian Plate which consists primarily of Turkey is being pushed west about 2-2.5 cm/yr (0.8-1.0 in), as it is squeezed between the Eurasian Plate on the north, and both the African Plate and the Arabian Plate on the south. Most of the large earthquakes result as slip occurs along the NAFZ or Eastern Anatolian Fault.
The official number of casualties is about 17,000 although real numbers are thought to be above 35,000. The rupture passed through major cities that are among the most industrialized and urban areas of the country, including oil refineries, several car companies and navy headquarters and arsenal in Golcuk thus increasing the severity of the life and property loss.

Done By: JuLia LOh, SaRah Seo, YAn RoNg, MArtHa MoRaiS