Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another problem for Iraq

The Mosul dam has been operating since 1984. For some strange reason it was built on a foundation of soluble rock. Which means that hundreds of employees have to work around the clock, pumping a cement mixture into the earth below to keep the dam stable. Ten tons of grout are pumped into the dam every day. Without this continuous maintenance, the rock beneath would wash away, causing the dam to sink and then break apart. In February, the U.S. Embassy said, “Mosul Dam faces a serious and unprecedented risk of catastrophic failure with little warning.” 

Here's what would likely happen:
A “tsunami-like wave” would rush through Mosul, carrying away everything in its path, including bodies, buildings, cars, unexploded bombs, hazardous chemicals, and human waste. The wave would almost certainly catch most of the people trying to outrun it. Residents of Mosul, scrambling on foot and by car through a citywide traffic jam, would need to travel at least three and a half miles to survive. In less than an hour, those who remained would be under as much as sixty feet of water.
Within four days, the wave would reach Baghdad, depositing as much as sixteen feet of water in many areas of the city, probably including the airport and the Green Zone, the site of government buildings and most of the embassies. The report said the majority of the city’s six million residents would face Hurricane Katrina-like conditions: people forced from their homes, with limited or no mobility and no essential services.

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