A joint team from the World Bank and the Ministry of Water Resources visited Sulaimaniyah Province to assess the impact of the recent earthquake that hit the Iraq-Iran border on the Darbandikhan and Dokan [Dukan] Dams. Both dams are very strategic. They were built in 1961 for flood control, irrigation, drinking water supply and later power generation was added.
Concerns about the safety and management of these two dams were raised after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Iraq-Iran border on November 12, centered 30 km southwest of Halabjah in Iraqi Kurdistan, around 217 km northeast of Baghdad.
At the request of H.E. Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, the World Bank mobilized a technical support mission to carry out a fact-finding assessment of the damage the earthquake has inflicted on the Darbandikhan and Dokan dams.
“We highly value the partnership between the Government of Iraq and the World Bank office in Baghdad and we appreciate the Bank’s prompt response and cooperation in answering the Ministry’s request for assistance in dealing with this emergency,” commented H.E. Hassan Al Janabi, Minister of Water Resources.
The objective of the Bank mission is to support the Ministry of Water Resources in preparing a detailed diagnostic of the damage that has been caused by the recent earthquake, reviewing the emergency preparedness plan, and preparing an action plan for managing the dams.
The mission found that the dam operator and the technical staff of the Ministry of Water Resources are managing the post-earthquake situation in a highly satisfactory manner. The extent of the further technical support needed will be based on the mission’s findings.
“The World Bank is working hand in hand with the Government of Iraq teams at the dam locations in carrying out a deep dive assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake and putting together a rehabilitation plan to address immediate and longer term concerns,” said Yara Salem, World Bank Iraq Country Manager.