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Warnings by scientists and environmentalists about an imminent collapse are dismissed by Iraqi officials as far-fetched.
After six months of frantic security and logistical preparations, an Italian company has kicked off the repair works to beef up the dam, under the protection of five hundred Italian soldiers and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
The Italian company,TREVI, will have about 18 months to prevent the foundations of the dam from plunging deeper underground, averting an impending catastrophe. Experts warn that if the dam collapses, up to 11.11 billion cubic-metres of water known as Lake Dahuk, will submerge Mosul and create an inundation that will affect the lives of millions of people living along the banks of the Tigris river.
...An in-depth study by the European Commission's Science Centre, released last April, puts the number of Iraqis that could be affected by the dam's floodwater after its collapse at seven million. The 58-page report by the Joint Research Centre simulates different scenarios that may result from the dam's breakdown.
If just 26 percent of the dam collapses, the study predicts a flood of catastrophic proportions.
"This simulation … results in a very high wave of water, [up to 25 metres high] ... arriving at Mosul after [100 minutes]. The capital Baghdad is reached after 3.5 days with a maximum water height of 8 metres and a mean of around 2 metres."
Floodwater will destroy the infrastructure of all the cities along the Tigris banks, including Tikrit, until the water eventually stops 700km south of the dam.