Iraqi Kurdistan’s infrastructure has suffered drastically over the last few years. Everything from the Islamic State, construction failure, and natural disasters have caused considerable amounts of damage. Overall, everything has put a strain on the economy and that in turn has made upkeep very difficult as well. A particularly bad example of this (or good example, I suppose) is Darbandikhan dam. The dam was seriously damaged in November 2017 during a jarring earthquake that rippled through the region. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has come forward and offered to repair the dam as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi central government have neglected to allocate funds for a repair budget.

Several offers were made by the KRG to companies that specialize in dam operation to install new control rooms as well as other necessary components. Getting foreign companies to invest in the project has been difficult though, mostly due to financial issues but the companies themselves are difficult to source in the region too. The companies that were investigated by the KRG, were all local companies that lacked the ability to repair the dam.

According to the Darbandikhan district governor, IMF is prepared to inject $30 million towards contract fulfillment. A contract worth around $850,000 will be to do the lay down electrical lines, construct the control/monitoring room, and various other system requirements. Darbandikhan District Governor Nasih Mala Hassan told local media that, “Although 14 companies have been notified, a company is yet to show readiness. What is important now is that the International Monetary Fund has showed readiness to contribute $30 million to restore the dam.” He added the IMF’s mission will be, “To discover the level of the damage, which is at the bottom of the dam, and to restore the dam, advanced technology is required. Our companies and even Iraqi companies can’t designate the level of the damage. That is why we need foreign technology.”

The Darbandikhan Dam is nearly 60-years-old having been built in 1961. So, an overhaul was already overdue. There are currently 17 dams in Kurdistan but the Dukan and Darbandikhan Dams are the largest. The situation was made worse when it was affected by the 7.3 rated earthquake last year. The earthquake was the deadliest one to occur in 2017, resulting in nearly 630 deaths and another 8,400 injuries in the region. After the quake, the central Iraqi government earmarked $2.5 million for assessment and estimation teams to inspect the dam and determine the amount damage the dam and incurred.

Featured image courtesy of By Alan Farhadi from Erbil – Hawler, Kurdistan – Iraq (Duhok Dam – Duhok – Kurdistan) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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