Floods have damaged main bridge of Kifri
Repair costs half billion, takes seven months

Sarqala bridge was closed by the government after being damaged by floods, Kifri, March 2024. Laila Ahmad

By Laila Ahmed in Kifri

Heavy rains and floods in recent weeks have damaged 14 bridges in the two districts of Kalar and Kifri, making traffic difficult for motorists.

The bridge in Sarqala district is the main bridge that has been damaged, while the traffic of the people of the district and 40 other villages, connects the two districts of Kifri and Kalar.

"Since the bridge was damaged, it has been difficult for us to travel. No vehicles can travel over the bridge and the government has closed it because it is likely to collapse," said Kamal Rashid, a resident of Sarqala.

The government has opened a side road next to the bridge for traffic.

"But the side road is bad and unpaved and low vehicles sometimes hit the ground, and the road is damaged every time it rains," Rashid added.

Kifri, home to over 50,000 people, is one of the districts located within the disputed territories, part of Diyala province run by the Iraqi government, while administratively is one of the districts of the Garmian local administration.

Garmian administration which includes several districts and sub-districts between Sulaymaniyah and Diyala province is part of Sulaymaniyah Northern Province, one of the provinces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq KRI under the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

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Due to the danger of the collapse of the Sarqalawa bridge, the government has opened a secondary road for traffic, Kifri, March 2024. Laila Ahmad

 Students, teachers, and government employees must travel through this road daily, or farmers visit Kafrin and other areas.

According to the Garmian Road Repair and Maintenance Office, 14 bridges in both Kifri and Garmian districts were damaged in the heavy rains last week.

Luqman Osman, director of the department, told KirkukNow that the dirt road is temporary as a replacement for crossing the Sarqala bridge.

The office has submitted a quick report to the Ministry of Reconstruction, and the repair of the Sarqala bridge will cost 500 million Iraqi Dinars IQD (USD330,000) and will take seven months to repair.

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Sarqala bridge was damaged by floods, Kifri, March 2024. Leila Ahmad

 The Sarqala Bridge was built in 1978 but was first damaged by floods in 1980 and was repaired. The bridge connects the residents of Kifri district – one of the disputed areas under the Iraqi constitution – to Kalar district, Sulaimaniyah, and the Parwizkhan border point between Iraq and Iran.

"The drawings of some of the other bridges have been sent to the Ministry of Reconstruction, we want to repair them as soon as possible," Osman said.

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