Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Iraq says risk to Mosul Dam affecting anti-IS drive
By Jean Marc MOJON
Baghdad (AFP) Feb 10, 2016

The risk of Iraq's largest dam collapsing and unleashing a huge wave onto Mosul is affecting plans to retake the city from jihadists, an adviser to the premier's office said.

The Iraqi army is deploying thousands of soldiers to a northern base in preparation for operations to recapture the city, the largest urban centre in the Islamic State group's self-proclaimed caliphate.

Concern has grown that a failure of the unstable dam, which is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of the city, could wipe out most of Mosul and flood large parts of Baghdad.

The Americans "frequently refer to Katrina" and say a collapse of the Mosul Dam would be "a thousand times worse", the adviser to the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged the US city of New Orleans in 2005, killing nearly 2,000 people and leading to a wave of violence and looting that completely overwhelmed the authorities.

"If the dam busts, the centre of Mosul goes under water by about a 40-50 foot wave (12 to 15 metres)," the adviser said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It just disappears, so 500,000 people (are) killed within a few hours," he said.

He said another dam in Samarra, hundreds of miles downstream, would also burst. It is estimated the wave would still be several metres high when it reaches Baghdad.

A US assessment published on the Iraqi parliament's website on Monday said Mosul Dam was "at a signficantly higher risk of failure than originally understood."

Several high-level contacts have taken place between the US administration and Baghdad, with Washington pushing for repair work to be undertaken urgently.

Since the dam's completion in 1984, Iraq has sought to shore up the foundation by injecting mortar-like grout into cavities that develop under the structure.

Regular minor seismic activity in the dam area is now seen as a potential threat.

- 'Nightmare scenario' -

Fears are also growing that IS could weaponise the dam.

"If the attack on Mosul goes well, there is a nightmare scenario that Daesh (an Arabic acronym for IS) could itself strike the dam as they withdraw from Mosul," the adviser said.

He said the US-led coalition, whose primary role in retaking Mosul would be to carry out air strikes, is concerned that a major bombing campaign could have an impact on the nearby dam.

"They are worried about it, they are thinking carefully about what kind of munitions they use in the Mosul operation," the adviser said, but that concern is not known to have been raised by the coalition.

After retaking the city of Ramadi, anti-IS forces may attempt to strike the group in Mosul before recapturing smaller cities such as Fallujah or Hawijah.

Another concern as Iraq begins deploying troops southeast of the city is a mounting economic crisis.

The government of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region is struggling to pay its peshmerga forces, who currently control the dam and will likely play a significant part in any Mosul assault.

A tender for the dam repairs was won by Italian firm Trevi and Rome has agreed to deploy around 450 troops to protect engineering teams there.

"The Prime minister has agreed with the Kurdish peshmerga -- and the Americans back this -- that the peshmerga withdraw," the adviser said.

"When the Italian force comes in, the Italian force is responsible for the security of the dam, so there's no dispute over who's responsible," he said.

The adviser said Abadi hoped the contract would be signed within two weeks.

It is currently estimated at 284.5 million euros (around $320 million) and the World Bank is helping to finance it.

A warm winter could lead to early snow melt and the Italian firm is expected to swiftly begin work with a seven-month phase aimed at repairing the dam's lower gates.

The rest of the major work is expected to take at least another 18 months.

"The PM suspected that sub-contracting may lead to delays or corruption and has taken an active role in ensuring the contract is monitored and audited closely," the adviser said.

Iraq's water ministry has consistently played down the risk posed by the Mosul Dam.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Iraq's largest dam at 'higher risk' of failure: US
Baghdad (AFP) Feb 9, 2016
Mosul Dam in northern Iraq, the country's largest, is at now at a "higher risk" of failure that could devastate areas to its south, according to a US assessment released by the Iraqi parliament. The dam was built on an unstable foundation that continuously erodes, and a lapse in maintenance after the Islamic State jihadist group briefly seized it in 2014 weakened the already flawed structure ... read more

NATO to debate Turkey call for migrant help

Prosecutors seek developer's detention after Taiwan collapse

Survivors including child pulled alive from Taiwan quake rubble

Indian soldier rescued after six days in Himalayan avalanche

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces

Making sense of metallic glass

A fast solidification process makes material crackle

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN

Flint mayor demands lead pipes be replaced after scandal

Iraq's largest dam at 'higher risk' of failure: US

Sea turtles with tumors fill Florida hospital

The mystery of the Red Sea

Antarctic ice safety band at risk

Scientists map movement of Greenland Ice during past 9,000 years

Antarctic study identifies melting ice sheet's role in sea level rise

Greenland model could help estimate sea level rise

Oregano may reduce methane in cow burps

Agricultural policies in Africa could be harming the poorest

France's Cahors wine is new frontier for Argentina, China

Climate change's frost harms early plant reproduction

Technology, ancient and modern, can help buildings survive quakes

Volcano in southern Japan erupts in fiery show of nature

Record Missouri flooding was manmade calamity

Rescuers race to save over 100 buried after Taiwan quake

Five killed as jihadists attack UN camp in Mali

Nigeria army probes recent Boko Haram attacks

Sudan names new military chief amid Darfur clashes: ministry

Ugandan opposition general charged at court martial: lawyer

Early human ancestor did not have the jaws of a nutcracker

Wirelessly supplying power to brain

Humans evolved by sharing technology and culture

DNA evidence uncovers major upheaval in Europe near end of last Ice Age

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement