Collapse of critical Ukrainian dam on the Dnipro River sparks evacuations Collapse of critical Ukrainian dam on the Dnipro River sparks evacuations  (ANSA)

Flooding threatens tens of thousands in Ukraine

Ukraine says tens of thousands of people are at risk of massive damage or drowning after the collapse of a gigantic dam in a Russian-occupied southern Ukraine. Kyiv has pleaded for international help, saying hundreds of thousands are left without drinking water.

By Stefan J. Bos

Panicked-stricken people who had already fled their homes due to severe flooding scrambled for safety again, and this time for apparently Russian shelling heard overhead.

Yet despite the dangers, rescue workers continue to deploy boats to rescue people from the Kherson region.

There is little time left as flood waters could be seen chest high in some parts of this area. Some people desperately wave for help from the rooftops of their inundated homes.

The damage to the Nova Kakhovka dam in the Dnipro near Ukraine's port city of Kherson overwhelms rescue workers.

Kyiv says Russia blew up the dam to prevent its forces from crossing the Dnipro River to continue a counter-offensive against invading Russian troops. Moscow denies these charges. Ukrainian officials say at least 42,000 people are already at imminent risk of severe flooding.  

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has accused Kremlin-appointed officials of failing to evacuate local people and has urged international organizations to help.

Drinking water troubles

Zelensky also said that "hundreds of thousands" are without regular access to clean drinking water following the breach.

Ukrainian officials have already described the tragedy as "the biggest eco-disaster" since the nuclear Chernobyl power plant explosion in 1986.

Ukrainian forces said they witnessed Russian soldiers swept up in flood waters after the Nova Kakhovka dam burst.

They say many were killed or injured after the dam collapsed.

These casualties added to the long list of hundreds of thousands of people killed or injured in what is now Europe's bloodiest armed conflict this century.

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos

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07 June 2023, 17:21