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PRESS RELEASEFebruary 28, 2023

Earthquake Direct Damage in Syria Estimated at $5.1 billion in Areas Already Severely Ravaged by Long Conflict and Displacement

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2023 – The February 6 earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria caused an estimated $5.1 billion in direct physical damages in Syria, according to a World Bank Global Rapid Assessment report released today. The current value of the damaged and destroyed capital stock is estimated at about 10% of GDP. The widespread damages impacted 4 governorates, where around 10 million of Syria’s population resides.  

The Syria Global Rapid Post-Disaster Damage Estimation (GRADE) Report provides a broad, preliminary assessment of the direct physical damages in Syria and their spatial distribution. GRADE is a remote desk-based methodology which combines earthquake damage modelling, secondary hazard modelling with flooding, and an assessment of capital stock values of different assets and sectors. Reflecting a significant degree of uncertainty around this preliminary assessment, estimates of the total direct damages using replacement costs range between US$2.7 and US$7.9 billion. The report does not cover broader economic impacts and losses for the Syrian economy, such as production or business interruption, loss of income, cost for temporary housing and demolition costs; these require a more in-depth assessment.

The GRADE report finds that Aleppo (population of 4.2 million) was the most severely hit governorate with 45% of the estimated damages (US$2.3 billion) followed by Idlib (37% or US$1.9 billion) and Lattakia (11% or US$549 million).  The subsequent earthquake on February 20 caused additional damage to the border regions in Lattakia, Idlib, Hama and Aleppo, with Idlib and Lattakia worst affected. Continued aftershocks are also likely to add to these damage estimates over time.

Direct damages to residential buildings account for nearly half of total damages (48.5% of the median value or US$2.5 billion), while damages in non-residential buildings (e.g., health facilities, schools, government buildings, and private sector buildings) account for one third of the total impact (33.5% or US $9.7 billion). Infrastructure damages account for 18% of total damages ($0.9 billion). This includes transport, critical power and water infrastructure, and Information & Communications Technology.

The damage estimates to the residential and non-residential sector include direct damages to all buildings and structures, including cultural heritage sites in Aleppo, Margat and Kobani. Cultural heritage sites are however severely underestimated as values associated with loss of cultural heritage are complex and challenging to quantify.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods in Türkiye and Syria following the devastating earthquakes,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Middle East Department. “These losses compound years of destruction, suffering and hardship the people of Syria have been enduring over the past years. The disaster will cause a decline in economic activity that will further weigh on Syria’s growth prospects.”

The World Bank has also started a Syria Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) that will provide a more detailed sector by sector assessment and include estimates of economic losses and recovery needs.

The World Bank also released on February 27 an assessment of the physical damages caused by the earthquakes in Türkiye using the GRADE methodology.

This GRADE report for Syria was conducted and financially supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

For more information on the World Bank Analytical Work on Syria:

The World Bank and Disaster Risk Management

Disasters hurt the poor and vulnerable the most. Over the past decade, the World Bank has emerged as the global leader in disaster risk management, supporting client countries to assess exposure to hazards and address disaster risks. The Global Rapid Post-Disaster Damage Estimation (GRADE) approach can provide an initial rapid estimation of the physical post-disaster damage incurred by key sectors within two weeks of the disaster. 


Ashraf Al-Saeed
Zeina El Khalil


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