Assessing the impact of Syrian refugees on earthquake casualty estimations in southeast Turkey

The influx of millions of Syrian refugees into Turkey has rapidly changed the population distribution along the Dead Sea Rift and East Anatolian fault zones. In contrast to other countries in the Middle East where refugees are accommodated in camp environments, the majority of displaced individuals in Turkey are integrated into local cities, towns, and villages – placing stress on urban settings and increasing potential exposure to strong earthquake shaking. Yet, displaced populations are often unaccounted for in the census based population models used in earthquake casualty estimations. Accordingly, this study constructs a refugee inclusive gridded population model and analyzes its impact on semi-empirical casualty estimations across southeast Turkey.

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