By John Lee.
The United States has sent technical experts to assess the structural integrity of Mosul Dam, amid fears that it is in danger of collapse.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told a press briefing on Monday:
"... we continue to support Iraqi-led efforts to help take measures to repair the dam to prevent a potential humanitarian crisis and educate the Iraqi people about the potential damages of a dam breach ...
"We have provided some equipment to monitor the stability of the dam and we’ve sent some technical experts to assess the dam’s structural integrity, and we’re going to continue to work with Iraqi leaders on that.
"I’m not at liberty to make any predictions about the fate of the dam right now ... The data that we have from the dam indicates that it has experienced additional stress since ISIL captured it in the summer of ’14."
In the State Department's worst-case scenario, an estimated 500,000 people could be killed if the dam, Iraq's largest, were to collapse in the spring, when the Tigris is swollen by rain and melting snow, according to The New York Times.
(Sources: US State Department, The New York Times)