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Iraq Signs Deal for Mosul Dam Maintenance

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Twitter on Thursday that the country signed a deal with an Italian firm, Trevi Group, for maintenance activities to reinforce and maintain the Mosul Dam. Deferred maintenance and construction issues with the dam threaten thousands of homes downstream in Mosul, Iraq, and a breach could cause millions in damage.

Previously al-Abadi urged residents of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, to move at least 3.5 miles away from the Mosul dam. The piece of infrastructure is at risk of collapsing and puts over a million people at risk.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq issued a security message on Monday calling for citizens to have plans in place should the dam collapse. “A dam failure would cause significant flooding and interruption of essential services in low-lying areas along the Tigris River Valley from Mosul to Baghdad” the memo read. At least one model that the agency ran showed that Mosul could be “inundated by as much as 21 meters (70 feet) of water within hours of the breach.”

A report last year published in Academia called the dam the “most dangerous dam in the world.” Workers have routinely patched concrete and parts of it since its construction, but maintenance was interrupted in 2014 when the Islamic State group temporarily captured it. The dam has continued to weaken since due to increased amounts of water seepage through the concrete.

(Image: Azad Lashkari/Reuters)

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