Riga-based Iraqi group: Mosul dam collapse threatens millions

A Riga-based group campaigning for reforms in Iraq is warning that millions of lives are at stake in that country due to the dangerously unstable state of a huge dam.

Peace Ambassadors for Iraq (PAFI), which has been previously profiled by LSM, is hosting a conference in Rome to highlight a situation it says could cost up to 1.47 million lives.

That claim is given some credence by recent press coverage of the perilous state of the Mosul Dam, one of the word's largest, backed up by US Army Corps of Engineers reports that the facility is in urgent need of repair.

"On April 19 and 20, PAFI, in partnership with Centro Studi Americani and Lulea University of Technology’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, will be conducting a collaborative symposium that invites the minds best suited for providing solutions to the Mosul Dam crisis," PAFI said in a statement.

"The symposium... will discuss the most prevailing issues for best mitigating the situation, thus avoiding the largest possible catastrophe in the Middle East," it added.

A 2006 report by the US Army said:

“….in terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world… If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely.”

Since then little has been done to remedy the situation and the facility was even briefly held by Daesh/Islamic State whose fighters still operate in the surrounding area, adding a further element of hazard.

PAFI was founded in Riga in 2014 and is headed by Sheikh Jamal al-Dhari.

The organization has produced a fact sheet about the situation at Mosul, arguing that construction of a new €2 billion dam is the only permanent solution.

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