Izmit Earthquake 1999 Case Study

İzmit earthquake of 1999, also called Kocaeli earthquake or Gölcük earthquake, devastating earthquake that struck near the city of İzmit in northwestern Turkey on August 17, 1999. Thousands of people were killed, and large parts of a number of mid-sized towns and cities were destroyed.

The earthquake, which occurred on the northernmost strand of the North Anatolian fault system, struck just after 3:00 am local time. Its epicentre was about 7 miles (11 km) southeast of İzmit. The initial shock lasted less than a minute and registered a magnitude of 7.4. It was followed by two moderate aftershocks on August 19, about 50 miles (80 km) west of the original epicentre. More than 17,000 people were killed and an estimated 500,000 left homeless as thousands of buildings—chief among them the Turkish navy headquarters in Gölcük and the Tüpraş oil refinery in İzmit—collapsed or were heavily damaged. High casualty figures were reported in the towns of Gölcük, Derince, Darıca, and Sakarya (Adapazarı). Farther west, in Istanbul, the earthquake caused hundreds of fatalities and widespread destruction.

The rescue and relief effort was spearheaded by the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish army, with many international aid agencies joining in. The immediate support offered by Greece led to a thaw in the often-contentious relationship between the two neighbouring countries. Because most of the casualties resulted from the collapse of residential buildings, there was a strong public outcry against private contractors, who were accused of poor workmanship and of using cheap, inadequate materials. Some contractors were criminally prosecuted, but very few were found guilty. Public opinion also condemned officials who had failed to enforce building codes regarding earthquake-resistant designs.


1 million people potentially homeless

Telephone communication had broken down

San Francisco

Section of San fran – Oakland bay bridge collapses

Interstate 280 sections of freeway slam into eachotehr and crack, columns fracture

Six people died when a brick building collapses in market district

 No power until oct. 20 (total: 3 days)

 Killed 63 people

 Injured 3757 

12,000 people homelessEconomic Consequences

 Damage $6bil-$13bil 

1.5% of national output lost as a result – Turkish treasury Undersecretary -Selcuk  Demiralp

 Hinders growth

 Hits shipping, automotive, petroleum, manufacturing hubs (Izmit and Adapazar)

 Hits Istanbul – 35% of country’s economic production

 Loss of manpower 

 Insurance providers had to take out loans

Tourism hit badly

Tupras oil refinery hit badly - 1/3 of the nation’s oil.

San Francisco

Almost $3 bil. In damages

Approx. ½ of total damage for whole earthquake zone

$6 bil in property damageHuman Responses

 Prime Ministry Crisis Centre – set up after quake to coordinate rescue and relief 


Criticized for being in its own crisis

1999 budget – no provisions for dealing with disaster – costs cannot be absorbed through an additional budget 

Want to introduce earthquake tax – but has narrow tax base with many taxevaders

 Largest ever emergency aid loan for turkey from IMF suggested - $490 billion $4billion so far has been received 

World bank sets aside $1 billion = to build health centers and schools as well asreconstruction of infrastructure

Minsitry of Public Works and Settlements - 550 people to asses damage1,931 construction machines and 3,295 people to affected area.

Wireless systems set up in tent cities to communicate info

Transportation routs operational

Aid aircrafts have places to land

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