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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 14:04 GMT
Ignorance and concern over Mosul Dam
Two Iraqis from areas that would be affected by a collapse of Mosul Dam speak about a lack of local awareness of the problems.

OMER, TRANSLATOR, MOSUL

I was born in Mosul and have lived here my whole life. I only found out about problems with the dam two months ago through the internet.

Mosul dam
The Iraqi government has played down warnings over the dam

I was shocked when I read an article about it - everything I now know I learnt through foreign media: the BBC, al-Jazeera, not through local people.

I visited the area around the dam and spoke to people working in the electricity industry there about it. They didn't want to know, it was like a joke to them.

Amazingly, no-one seems to care about it. Daily life in Mosul is dangerous - it makes residents careless about everything else. And people aren't particularly educated here.

Most of the electricity the dam supplies goes to the northern, Kurdish areas.

I think the risk of the dam collapsing is serious. If it did, the most at-risk areas are Sunni. Most of the Iraqi government is Shia. I'm not trying to be critical but there it is.

If the dam was in a Shia area, there would be a huge fuss about it.

I am not confident the Iraqi government is in control of the problem. They've done nothing about serious problems before.

MOHAMMED, ENGINEER, DOHUK

I am quite sure 90% of people in Mosul are not aware of the problems with the dam or the exact danger they are in.

Here in Dohuk we are about 25km upstream from the lake behind the dam. So, the dam is close to us. A good number of our relatives and friends live downstream.

I first heard whispers that there were problems years ago. But under Saddam, anything related to the state was a secret. You talk about it - you're in trouble.

Then later, the information started to come out - that it was built on layers of gypsum which had cracks in it. They have been injecting material to fill the cracks in the gypsum.

The solutions are mainly based on the findings and advice of local engineers. These are small repairs, but I don't think it's enough. Even if there is a small danger, you should take very serious precautions.

I think that a big international engineering bid should be floated, together with enough funds to save the dam and save the lives at risk.



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