On 17 August 1999, at 03.02, 41,000 square kilometres between Bolu and Istanbul was struck by an earthquake registering 7.4 on the Richter scale. This is home to 23 per cent of the country's population and accounts for 34.7 per cent of GNP. The epicentre was located in Gölcük, the country's most important naval base, in the province of Kocaeli, 90 kilometres east of Istanbul (see Figure 13.1). The official death toll was 17,127, with an additional 43,953 hospitalized injuries. Estimated monetary losses were between US$9 and 13 billion, with direct physical damage being: industrial (US$2 bn), buildings (US$5 bn) and infrastructure (US$1.4 bn). Systemic economic losses doubled these figures, with a decrease in 1 per cent of GNP growth. An additional US$3.5 bn was expended on rehousing (DPT 1999). The high level of damage inflicted on the housing stock and commercial buildings of the area can clearly be seen in Table 13.1.
Figure 13.1 Earthquake zoning map for Turkey.
Source: Özmen et al. (1997).