Iraq issues warning of ‘catastrophic’ Mosul dam collapse

Mosul_Dam

Middle East Eye reports: Authorities in Iraq have issued a contingency plan for the possible collapse of the Mosul dam amid fears that the lives of almost 1.5 million people along the Tigris river could be at risk from catastrophic flooding.

The statement is the first public acknowledgment by the Iraqi government of the danger posed by the dam, which is in a poor state of repair after years of neglect and its brief capture by Islamic State (IS) fighters in 2014.

The government earlier this month awarded a contract to Italian engineering firm TREVI to undertake emergency repairs on the 3.4km dam, which is the fourth largest in the Middle East and lies 40km north of Mosul, Iraq’s second city which is currently controlled by IS.

Many other Iraqi cities including Baghdad, the capital, Shirqat, Baiji, Tikrit, Samarra, Balad and Dujail could be flooded if the dam breaks down, Iraqi and US officials warned.

“The collapse of the dam is very unlikely, especially with the technical and administrative precautions taken by the authorities, but the serious consequences if it did happen necessitate the alert,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

“We have developed a package of precautionary recommendations, in order to avoid any potential risk, God forbid. They [the recommendations] have to be taken into consideration by all people.”

The US embassy in Baghdad on Sunday also issued an alert to US citizens warning them of the dangers of a possible collapse. [Continue reading…]

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