More than 2,000 dead in Turkey, Syria earthquake as toll continues to rise

Tom Brown


LONDON (ICIS)–More than 2,000 people are believed to have died after a massive earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria, with oil, gas and power still cut off to parts of the affected area.

In its latest update on the disaster, Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) estimated that 1,498 people have died in the affected areas, with Kahramanmaras and Gazientep among the worst-hit areas.

Syria’s health agency estimates deaths at 430, with organisations in the northwest of the country, where the government does not have control, reportedly assessing the death count in the region at 380 so far, meaning that at least 2,300 people have died in the two countries.

The escalating death count comes after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred in Kahramanmaras province in the early hours of Monday morning, followed by a second 7.6 magnitude earthquake at 13:24 local time (10:24 GMT). Official estimates of the magnitude of the first earthquake have shifted through the day.

As a result of the disaster, natural gas can not currently be supplied into the Hatay and Kirikhan regions, and deliveries to inlet stations in parts of Gazientep province have been halted as a precautionary measure.

27 urban centres in the affected regions in Turkey are still currently without access to electricity, according to AFAD, and flows of crude oil along pipelines operated by state firm BOTAS have been halted into parts of the region.

Gazientep is an industrial hub in the southeast and the heart of Turkey’s textile industry and a major plastics consumer. Chemicals produced in the affected regions include soda ash, polyester fibres and polymers, fertilizer and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Several chemicals players in the region have stated that there has been no direct impact from the earthquakes yet, but this could evolve in terms of production and demand as the disruption continues to make itself felt. Gazientep is a major consumer of polymers.

Electricity has been cut off for 27 of the municipalities affected by the earthquake and aftershocks, according to AFAD, with natural gas flows cut off to inlet stations at Nurdagi and Islahiye in Gazientep province.

Some crude oil flows along pipelines operated by state company BOTAS have also been suspended, according to AFAD.

Natural gas transmission lines have been damaged in Gazientep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras provinces, according to a statement from BOTAK. Electricity supply to Adanas is continuing, with a local source stating that power may be restored to Gazientep later today.

Nearly 3,000 buildings in Turkey have been demolished either for safety reasons or as part of recovery efforts, according to AFAD. Kahramanmaraş and Hatay airports are currently closed to flights due to damage.

Update: Adds latest death toll and other developments.

Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman and Samantha Wright, infographics by Miguel Rodriguez-Fernandez and Yashas Mudumbai.

Thumbnail picture: Collapsed buildings in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey Source: Ahmet Yukus/Depo Photos via ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock


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