By John Lee.

South Korea has offered US$7 million to help resolve the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

A statement on Thursday from Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said:

“Our government decided to provide assistance following a comprehensive review of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, the international community’s call for aid and other countries’ provision of aid.”

South Korea plans to allocate $3 million to the Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (FFIS), with the remaining $4 million to be distributed through the World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organisation (WHO), UNHCR and UNICEF.

(Source: Yonhap)

(South Korea image via Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

Kurdistan’s Qaiwan Group has secured two loans totalling $105 million to refinance part of the firm’s investment in the 442-MW Bazian Power Plant (pictured).

According to a report from Trade Arabia, Deutsche Bank has arranged an eight-year $75-million buyer credit, along with the Dubai branch of Lebanon’s Bankmed.

The finance is being backed by Coface, the French government’s export credit agency.

GE has arranged a five-year, $30-million commercial loan.

Dubai-based CT&F Consulting DMCC acted as financial advisor to Qaiwan Group on the entire financing.

The Bazian Combined Cycle Power Plant Project is located between Chamchamal and Sulaymaniyah, Iraq in the Sulaymaniyah Province.

(Sources: Trade Arabia, GTR)

Switzerland’s ABB has won an order worth around $100 million from Mass Global Holding to deliver a gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) substation that will help integrate 3,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity generated by a combined cycle power plant, utilizing Iraq’s natural gas resources.

The government is rebuilding the country, investing in national housing programs and has ambitious plans for developing its power infrastructure to meet electricity needs. The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids division, said:

“This advanced GIS substation will help bring much needed electricity by expanding capacity and strengthening Iraq’s power infrastructure …

“This project adds to our extensive installed base in the region and supports our Next Level strategic thrust on growing markets.”

ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the transmission and distribution substation excluding civil works.

This will be the largest 400/132 kilovolt (kV) substation in Iraq, equipped with state-of-the-art gas-insulated switchgear. ABB’s GIS technology will enhance operational reliability, efficiency and safety while minimizing substation footprint and maintenance requirements.

ABB will also deliver two 400/132 kV autotransformers to step down the voltage for distribution to, and advanced IEC 61850-compliant open automation, protection and telecommunication systems for local and remote control and monitoring of substation assets.

(Source: ABB)

The Iraqi authorities have signed a contract with Italy’s Trevi construction company to consolidate the Mosul dam, reported the Italian Foreign Ministry.

The contract was signed following intense negotiations between the company and the Iraqi authorities in Baghdad.

Under the contract, the Trevi Group will carry out consolidation work on the dam, as agreed during the recent visit to Rome of Iraq’s president, Haider al-Abadi, and discussed by Paolo Gentiloni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the representatives of the United States and Iraq in these last few days in New York, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the contract.

(Source: Italian Foreign Ministry)

The Embassy of the United States of America has released a fact sheet on the Mosul Dam, offering a detailed overview of the risk of a potential failure and, as a contingency, recommendations for how residents in Iraq should respond in the event of an emergency.

Mosul Dam faces a serious and unprecedented risk of catastrophic failure with little warning. Recognizing the gravity of this challenge, the Iraqi government under Prime Minister Abadi’s leadership is preparing to take actions to mitigate the potential threat of the dam’s failure, particularly following the Da’esh attack on the facility in August 2014.

We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to undertake all necessary measures to rapidly finalize and implement a contract in order to address the structural integrity of Mosul Dam. We would also like to acknowledge the considerable efforts of the Italian government in supporting ongoing efforts to stabilize the dam.

We have no specific information that indicates when a breach might occur, but out of an abundance of caution, we would like to underscore that prompt evacuation offers the most effective tool to save lives of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis living in the most dangerous part of the flood path in the event of a breach.  Proper preparation could save many lives.

Therefore, in partnership with the Iraqi government’s early warning and public information efforts with respect to Mosul Dam, in the fact sheet we are providing recommendations to residents living near the Tigris River, to include:

  • Residents of Mosul, where the consequences would be the most severe, probably could avoid the initial flood wave by moving at least 6 kilometers from the current banks of the Tigris and avoiding all rivers and wadis feeding into the Tigris.
  • Residents of Tikrit probably could reach safety by moving at least 5 kilometers from the riverbank.
  • Samarra residents west of the riverbank probably could move roughly 6.5 kilometers away from the river bank to reach safety. Samarra residents on the east side of the river probably would need to flee farther — potentially around 16.5 kilometers — to avoid being cut off by multiple streams of water when the major irrigation canal floods.
  • Some parts of Baghdad would also be flooded, which could include Baghdad International Airport.

We are very encouraged that Prime Minister Abadi is already working with the United Nations to develop a detailed emergency notification plan and ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place to alert residents in the event of a breach. Just as buildings have fire alarms, there must be a way to alert people immediately in the event of a breach so they have time to respond.

We have been providing some technical assistance to the government that we believe will augment this Iraqi-led effort and contribute to general public emergency preparedness, including for the citizens of Mosul.

The United States will continue to support Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi government in their efforts to address this critical challenge.

Read the Fact Sheet Here (PDF 54 KB)

(Source: Embassy of the United States)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Engineers say the Mosul dam in northern Iraq is the world’s most dangerous – despite millions of dollars that have been spent to strengthen it.

They need more cash – after discovering that the dam’s weaknesses are much worst than first thought.

But the further cash needed is in doubt because of the war with ISIL and the Iraqi government’s budget crisis.

Imran Khan reports from Baghdad:

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq announced on Tuesday that it has awarded Italian firm Trevi a contract to repair and maintain the country’s largest dam, which is in danger of catastrophic collapse.

Mayor of Tikrit: With the help of UNDP, people have reestablished essential services for our community

The Mayor of Tikrit, Omar Tariq Ismail, says he is proud of the progress his city has made in the past seven months following liberation from the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“With the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the people of Tikrit have reestablished the essential services for our community. With water stations and electrical grids repaired and police stations, healthcare centres and schools rebuilt, people can now restart their lives.”

The Mayor was a major part of the operation to retake Tikrit, and he reentered the city just after ISIL was pushed out.

Water, electricity and healthcare were the first services that had to be restored. Following that we needed to provide livelihoods for people,” Ismail stated. He credits UNDP’s Cash for Work programme as instrumental. “Through those programmes, we were able to clean up our community, provide income for the youth and keep them occupied with productive activities,” the Mayor commented.

Stabilization support through FFIS has been provided in Tikrit, where 90 percent of families have returned to their homes and are rebuilding their lives. Nearly 65,000 people are now receiving safe drinking water from three rehabilitated water pumping stations and treatment plants; 30,000 people are accessing rehabilitated primary health care centres and using ambulance services; and 43,200 people have better electricity supply and expanded coverage.

New initiatives are underway in liberated areas of Salah al-Din, Diyala, Ninewah and Anbar. All activities are implemented based on the Government’s assessed priorities.

Since its establishment in June 2015, UNDP’s FFIS has been channelling fast-track support to help rehabilitate civic infrastructure, kick-start local economies, boost government capacity and promote community reconciliation in newly liberated areas in Iraq.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

By John Lee.

U.S. Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland has said the US military was working with the Iraqi government on a plan to protect civilians in the event of a collapse of Mosul Dam.

Reuters quotes him as telling journalists in Baghdad:

“The likelihood of the dam collapsing is something we are trying to determine right now … all we know is when it goes, it’s going to go fast and that’s bad.

“If this dam was in the United States, we would have drained the lake behind it. We would have taken that dam out of commission.”

There are fears that a failure of the dam would send a surge of water down the heavily-populated Tigris valley.

Reuters reports that the Italian Trevi Group is finalising a contract to upgrade the 3.6-km (2.2-mile) long dam, which has suffered from structural flaws since it was built in the 1980s.

(Source: Reuters)

With no let-up to the war in Syria, UN, humanitarian and development agencies in Iraq have appealed for $298 million in ongoing assistance for nearly 250,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq.

The appeal was made at the launch of the Iraq chapter of the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) in Erbil today, attended by H.E. Dr. Ali Sindi, Minister of Planning, Kurdistan Regional Government. Also in attendance were Minister Falah Mustafa, head of the department of Foreign Relations, KRG, as well as key government and humanitarian agencies, and donors assisting refugees in Iraq.

The Kurdistan Region in Iraq hosts 97% of the Syrian refugees, as well as more than one million Iraqis displaced due to conflict.

The response plan for Iraq is committed to continue providing continued protection and assistance to Syrian refugees, to meet their basic needs. It also recognizes the need to increase the resilience of refugees as well as host communities and calls for a greater investment in education and increased opportunities for vocational training and livelihoods.

In opening remarks, Dr. Sindi said that efforts by his government to host the refugees should be more widely acknowledged and supported by the international community. “97% of the total number of Syrian refugees is in Iraqi Kurdistan- this is something that the people of Kurdistan need to be acknowledged for and encouraged to continue to do.”

He said the financial crisis facing his government, prompted by a fall in oil prices, was putting the authorities under greater pressure. “All organisations need to consider that the financial crisis has led the host community to face very great challenges. The appeal for $300 m for Syrian refugees does not cover the real needs of those people”