Mosul Dam Emergency Preparedness Plan


Programme Summary

Mosul Dam, one of the largest dams in the Arab region, was built in the early eighties on the Tigris River. The Dam poses significant risks, should it fail, due to the highly soluble gypsum layers lying beneath its foundation. Catastrophic failure of the Dam could generate a tsunami wave 45m high and threaten the downstream population in Mosul city within 2-4 hours. Should the Dam collapse, it is feared that over 500,000 lives could be lost and even the capital, Baghdad, might be inundated by flood waters of up to 8m within 60-70 hours, affecting a total of 4-6 million people along the Tigris River floodplain.

With funding from the USAID, UNDP has supported the Government of Iraq (GoI) to establish emergency alert and communication protocols designed to warn populations along the flood-path, in the event of dam failure. Targeted messaging was developed and delivered through multiple platforms to raise risk awareness in vulnerable communities and Iraqi officials were trained on dam safety operations, including participation in drills/simulations. UNDP continues to support the GoI to expand its efforts and adopt emergency preparedness measures, which include an end-to-end warning system, community preparedness, risk education and dam safety practices.

The current phase of the project aims to improve preparedness to ensure increased capacity to respond to crisis at the national, provincial and local level, should the Mosul Dam collapse.

Key activities under the current phase include

1. Rapid deployment of preparedness training and tools to operationalize the Governorate preparedness plans

2. Risks advocacy for the vulnerable communities expanded and strengthened

3. Simulations/drills conducted to ensure readiness and strengthen emergency preparedness at all levels 

4. Volunteers network strengthened for community early warning and evacuation

5. Emergency preparedness and safety measures of major Dams strengthened

6. Major facilities protected along the Tigris flood plain to avoid domino impact

7. Environmental risks of toxic and chemical pollution mitigated along the Tigris flood path.

Implementing Partners and beneficiaries 

The National Operations Centre (NOC) in the Prime Minister’s office the Implementing Partner of the Project, while Governorates of Baghdad, Ninewa and Salah Al Din are the key stakeholders at the governorate level. Also key beneficiaries of the Project Also the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health and Environment are primary stakeholders for implementation of school and hospital preparedness activities respectively. The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is a key stakeholder and beneficiary of the dam safety interventions.  A wide variety of other stakeholders include the National Security Council (NSC), Civil Defence, and the private sector companies/industries. Local communities, district and sub-district local authorities along the Tigris flood path in the three governorates are the primary beneficiaries of the Project. 

Responsible Parties

Iraq Red Crescent Society (IRCS) – The IRCS is the responsible party for community awareness and preparedness interventions of the Project, targeting youth, and most vulnerable communities. Key activities include awareness raising through face to face activities, SMS, media and social media. 

World Health Organization (WHO) – WHO is the responsible party for hospital preparedness in 20 hospitals in the vulnerable governorates. The key activities include training of doctors and nurses, preparedness plans of hospitals and health centers and drills. 

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – UNICEF is the responsible party for child-centric risk awareness and school preparedness in 100 schools in the three governorates. Key activities include development and dissemination of awareness materials, teacher’s training, student awareness, drills and upgrading of selected schools as emergency evacuation centers.



What we have achieved so far

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  • More than 40 governorate, district and local Civil Defense Disaster Management Committees formed.

  • Training on flood preparedness for governorate and district officials targeting 100 officials.

  • An Emergency Alert and Communication System (EACS) for Mosul Dam emergencies was put in place in coordination with PMNOC. The system ensures that timely risk notifications are sent promptly to the highest executive level and evacuation orders would be disseminated promptly to all concerned parties at the federal and provincial levels as well as communities at risk of inundation. 

  • Flood Preparedness Plans developed in Ninewa, Salah al-Din and Baghdad Governorates to address the impact of flood.

  • A Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) strategy finalized including a methodology for the identification of critical infrastructure. 

  • UNDP is developing an emergency preparedness plan for ten major facilities in Baghdad and a capacity building program for GoI experts to develop emergency preparedness plans for more facilities.

  • More than 2 million users reached with social media messages on flood awareness.

  • 200 volunteers identified and volunteer trainers were trained to establish a volunteer network for risk preparedness along the Tigris River.

  • 100 school selected for awareness and 19 to serve as emergency evacuation centers.

  • Curriculum developed for awareness raising of school teachers and students.

  • Schools being upgraded as flood evacuation centers.

  • Assessment on safety and emergency preparedness conducted for Mosul, Haditha, Dukan, Darbandikhan, and Hemrin Dams.

  • A mitigation plan for the environmental impact of chemical/ toxic contamination from Mosul Dam is ongoing in coordination with the MoHEnv.