Crack along Kurdistan Region trade route poses major risk to safety, economy: Geologist
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A local geologist has warned that a crack in the earth located in the Kurdistan Region’s district of Soran poses a significant threat of a hazardous landslide on one of the main trade routes connecting Erbil to Iran.
Arkan Osman, a geology lecturer in Soran University’s Oil faculty, told Kurdistan 24 that the fissure is right beside the main trade road of the international Haji-Omeran border crossing with Iran.
The separation is roughly one kilometer long and reaches up to two meters wide in some places.
“If left unattended,” he said, “the crack will in the near future cause a major landslide, especially since it runs across the main road used by freight trucks traveling between the Kurdistan Region and Iran.”
Osman explained that if a landslide does in fact occur, it will likely lead to a major disaster. In his opinion, one viable option is to “remove the portion of the mountain that erodes over the main road bit by bit, to prevent any future landslides.”
Mohsen Tahsin, the spokesperson for Soran’s Traffic Directorate, told Kurdistan 24, “Since the crack began to form, we attempted to warn people by setting up two signs. One states that no (vehicle) horns can be used in the area and the second is a landslide warning sign.”
Tahsin urged truck drivers driving from and to the Haji-Omeran crossing to refrain from using horns and sirens anywhere near this area, warning of a potential catastrophe if large chunks of rock and dirt begin to give way.
In addition to the obvious health hazard to local residents and those traveling on the road, a landslide has the potential to close the main trade artery in the area, through which many crucial supplies are brought into the Kurdistan Region.
The cost to repair the road following a landslide would be substantial and would be a blow to the economy, both in the district and the entire Kurdistan Region, since the vital trade route could be closed for months.
The autonomous Kurdistan Region maintains robust economic ties with Iran and imports many essential commodities from its eastern neighbor, including food, agricultural products, household appliances, auto parts, and hundreds of other items.
Editing by John J. Catherine