Iraqi and international technical teams are assessing the damage done to the dam. Photo: Rudaw video
DARBANDIKHAN, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi government has sent a team to the town of Darbandikhan that was struck by last week’s earthquake to assess the extent of the damage inflicted on the dam.
“We are doing two things. First, we have dedicated 3 billion IQD [$2.5mn] to repair the dam soon. Second, we will support all the affected people,” said Darbaz Mohammed, head of an Iraqi committee formed to oversee repairs to the dam.
In addition to the dam’s own team, Baghdad has also dispatched experts from Hamrin dam and from the Ministry of Water Resources.
“We sent a technical team upon a request by the prime minister soon after the event to protect the safety of the dam in Darbandikhan. And we are working with them now,” Tofiq Jasim, manager of the Hamrin dam, told Rudaw.
International experts have also inspected the dam and the Kurdistan Regional Government said the EU has offered to cover costs of repairs.
Ankara sent an expert team from Diyarbakir’s Dicle University. Their engineers will seek financial assistance from the Turkish government.
Large volumes of water are released from the dam daily to decrease pressure on the structure.
Residents of towns and villages immediately downstream of the dam, some nearly 500 families, are worried.
“We will go back to our homes and won’t need any support or assistance only if the mayor or manager of the dam reassures us,” said Ahmed Mohammed, resident of Sirwan.
Darbandikhan dam was built in 1961. It is currently holding more than 1 billion square metres of water, more than a third of its 3 billion capacity. The dam is an important source of water for agriculture in parts of Garmian, Diyala, and Hamrin.
The dam was damaged in a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on November 12.