Today, Kit Malthouse MP asked the Minister from the Foreign Office what the Government is doing to prevent the collapse of the “crumbling” Mosul Dam in Iraq. If the dam collapsed the lives of at least 1.5 million people could be at risk from the wave along the River Tigris.
The Minister replied that the UK Government is taking precautions at the Baghdad embassy and urging the Iraqi Government to press on with emergency warning measures and engineering work.
Saddam Hussein built the dam on weak, water-soluble rock such as gypsum and anhydrite despite international warnings and now Iraq face the collapse of this 2 miles long and 113 metres tall structure. The rock it is built on is constantly eroding and underground repairs to mitigate the damage and keep its foundations intact are going on almost constantly.
In March, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power said that “In the event of a breach, there is the potential in some places for a flood wave up to 14 meters (15 yards) high that could sweep up everything in its path, including people, cars, unexploded ordnance, waste and other hazardous material, further endangering massive population centres.”
In a recent security message, the U.S. government said if the dam collapses, “Some models estimate that Mosul could be inundated by as much as 70 feet (21 meters) of water within hours of the breach. Downriver cities such as Tikrit, Samarra, and Baghdad could be inundated with smaller, but still significant levels of flooding within 24-72 hours of the breach.”