US warns citizens to flee Iraq if Mosul Dam bursts

Published March 1st, 2016 - 12:19 GMT
If the dam collapses, severe flooding could pose a great danger to those in the affected areas. (AFP/File)
If the dam collapses, severe flooding could pose a great danger to those in the affected areas. (AFP/File)

The US has issued a warning stating that its citizens should flee Iraq if the Mosul Dam collapses. Earlier this year, the Iraqi minister of water suggested that there was only a one in one thousand chance that the dam would collapse, however the US warning states that citizens in Iraq should be prepared just in case.

“We have no specific information that indicates when a breach might occur, but out of an abundance of caution, we would like to underscore that prompt evacuation offers the most effective tool to save lives of the hundreds of thousands of people," the warning said.

Mosul is currently under the control of Daesh, however the dam itself was liberated by Iraqi forces aided by US coalition airstrikes. Despite this, the fact that maintenance works have been delayed due to the conflict have increased the risk of a breach.

The US security message gives a bleak description of what may happen 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.  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,” it says.

That level of flooding would be catastrophic for Iraq, a country already torn by violence.

US citizens are asked to prepare contingency plans and stay informed of events.


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