Trevi, an Italian construction and engineering firm won a € 273 million (US$ 298 million) contract to help prevent Iraq’s Mosul dam from collapsing. Italian Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni as well as Iraqi and American governmental officials all attended the signing of the 18-month contract by the the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources
in New York city. 450 Trevi engineers and construction workers will work on the dam under the protection of Italian military forces.
The historical struggle of the thirty-year old dam has been well documented by stories of questionable foundations and construction; having also been captured by the Islamic State and now back under Iraqi governmental control. However, they are now dealing with repairing the dam without enough maintenance staff or the proper machinery to prevent further water pressure caused by melting ice from the rural mountain regions.
It has now been over a year since crucial maintenance has been performed after the dam was recaptured from IS. Further adding to the imminent danger of collapse is a statement made by former chief engineer of the dam, Nasrat Adamo, “very few workers have come back. There are perhaps 30 people there now,” he said, “the machines for grouting have been looted. There is no cement supply. They can do nothing. It is going from bad to worse, and it is urgent. All we can do is hold our hearts.”
A statement recently released by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq outlined the risks and the necessary steps to evacuate and prevent loss of life were the dam to collapse. Yet almost a decade after the initial letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister written by the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and the American Military Commander warning “A catastrophic failure of the Mosul dam would result in flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Baghdad,” very little has been done to prevent the threat of a major preventable crisis.
However, urgent warnings have now been issued by the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad urging residents to evacuate Mosul and any outer bank areas along the Tigris river and distance themselves at least 3.5 miles away from the Tigris, in order to avoid the potentially fatal 20 metre high flash flood.