Diyala’s Mandali residents breathe sigh of relief after “death road” nightmare brought to an end

February 12, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Diyala- Mandali highway which links the border town to Baquba, February 2019 Photo: Mandali district council media

KirkukNow- Diyala

The main highway of Mandali, Diyala’s biggest town on the border with Iran has been for long years one of the most dangerous roads which took the lives of dozens every year.

The main road has been recently rehabilitated leading to a notable decrease in road accident-related fatalities.

Haidar Mandalawi, member of the Mandali district council told (KirkukNow), “The Mandali highway, which passes through Baladruz and Kan’an, is main linking road between the district and Baquba, the provincial capital of Diyala. The road was one of the most dangerous due to the high rates of accidents which usually led to catastrophes.”

Road accident rates on the highway have been down by 90%

Mandalawi reaffirmed that road accident rates on the highway have been down by 90% since the rehabilitation project was completed.

“Previously, 2-3 accidents were recorded on a weekly basis on the 45 km-road from Mandali to Baladruz, some of them were fatal accidents”, he added.

Mandali a town near the border with Iran is inhabited by a mixed make-up of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. The residents widely depend on agriculture for a living.

Number of those die on death roads are sadly more than those who were killed due to acts of terror

Shakir al-Dayni, a Mandali resident says, “The road between mandala and Baladruz was for years a cursed road; many families lost friends and loved ones there, I myself lost two of my brothers in an accident two years ago.”

“The number of those die on death roads are sadly more than those who were killed due to acts of terror; nevertheless the crisis is dealt with very sluggishly”, said Shakir.

Mu’ayad Sami, a lawyer who lives in a village near Mandali indicated that “80 people including women and children died or injured last year in road accidents on the road between Mandali and Baladruz.”

Ali al-Dayni, head of Diyala provincial council said that there has been a range of reasons setting back the rehabilitation of Diyala roads, above them the deteriorated security situation in 2014 and the lack of an adequate budget to carry out the projects.” He concluded that putting an end to the roads of death will be a priority on the Diyala administration’s agenda in 2019.

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