The destruction of a large dam in the southern region of Ukraine controlled by Russia has resulted in a massive release of water.
The military of Ukraine and Nato have accused Russia of causing an explosion at the dam, while Russia has placed the blame on Ukraine.
Numerous individuals have been forced to leave their homes in nearby towns due to the devastating floods that are affecting the low-lying regions on both sides of the Dnipro river.
According to UN humanitarian aid chief Martin Griffiths, thousands of people in the Kherson region will face severe and long-lasting consequences due to the expected peak of flood waters in the next few hours.
This is the information we have at the moment.
The location of the dam is being asked. The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant can be found in the Kherson region’s city of Nova Kakhovka. The city is presently controlled by the Russian government.
During the time of the Soviet Union, a dam was constructed as one of six that are located on the Dnipro river. This river flows from the northern part of the country to the southern part where it meets the sea. In the Kherson region, the left or southern bank is occupied by Russia while Ukraine has control over the right or northern bank.
According to Reuters, there is a dam that is holding a massive amount of water, equivalent to the volume of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA. The locals refer to it as the Kakhovka Sea because in some areas, you cannot see the other side of the reservoir due to its immense size.
Can you explain the situation? Footage captured a significant rupture in the dam, causing a rush of water to flow through and inundate the area downstream towards Kherson.
The exact time when the dam was initially damaged is unknown, but based on satellite images, it seems that its state gradually worsened over several days.
The road on the dam shows signs of damage since 2 June, but the water flow remained stable until 6 June when the wall breached and nearby buildings collapsed. It is uncertain if the damage to the road caused the breach on 6 June.
The Dnipro river is experiencing extensive flooding, which is visible through satellite imagery, particularly affecting areas with lower elevation.
On Tuesday, pictures captured in Nova Kakhovka depicted structures engulfed by the overflow of water and even swans swimming around a government building.
Although the water levels are decreasing in Nova Kakhovka, they have not yet reached their highest point in the city of Kherson downstream.
According to the inhabitants of Oleshky, several houses are on the brink of being submerged in water, and the elderly individuals are stranded on their rooftops, waiting for rescue teams to arrive.
The mayor of Nova Kakhovka, who was appointed by the Russian government, stated that the village of Korsunka had been entirely inundated. In addition, three other villages, namely Kozachi Laheri, Krynky, and Dnipryany, had been flooded up to the rooftops.
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Regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported that many residents residing in the low-lying regions of Kherson city, located less than 50 miles downstream of Nova Kakhovka, have been relocated due to potential threats.
According to him, around 2,000 houses situated on the side of the river that is controlled by Ukraine have been completely flooded.
The company in charge of managing hydroelectric power dams in Ukraine, UkrHydroEnerho, has announced that the Nova Kakhovka facility has been completely destroyed and cannot be repaired.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has reported that the river has been polluted with 150 tonnes of industrial lubricant. Additionally, there is a possibility of another 300 tonnes leaking and causing further contamination to the river.
There is worry about desertification, as flood waters are causing agricultural land to erode, and the adverse effects of the floods are expected to have long-lasting impacts.
The agriculture ministry of Ukraine reported that a significant amount of agricultural land on the side of the Dnipro river controlled by Ukraine had been flooded, specifically 10,000 hectares. The amount of flooded land on the side controlled by Russia, which is considered to be occupied by Ukraine, is
The ministry reported that a significant majority of irrigation systems used for agriculture in the Kherson region, around 94%, were currently lacking a water source.
The reason behind the damage to the dam is not known yet. However, the military of Ukraine has put forward an accusation that Russia is responsible for the deliberate destruction of the dam. This allegation seems valid as Moscow may have been concerned that Ukrainian troops would use the road over the dam to enter Russian territory as a response to the offensive.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Kremlin, denied any involvement by Russia in the incident and accused Ukraine of committing an act of "sabotage." According to Peskov, the act was aimed at depriving the Crimean peninsula of water, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The BBC has not confirmed the assertions made by either Ukraine or Russia.
The significance of the dam was immense as it fulfilled various functions.
The reservoir was responsible for providing water to multiple communities upstream and also served as a source of cooling water for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station. The power station is located about 100 miles upstream and is operated by Russia. The reservoir was crucial for the functioning of the power station.
The IAEA has stated that there is currently no danger to nuclear safety, but they are keeping a close eye on the situation.
In a statement, it was mentioned that if the dam’s level drops below 12.7m, which is the minimum level required for pumping water upstream to Zaporizhzhia, there are other options available for cooling the nuclear plant. One of these options is a spacious cooling pond situated near the site.
Moreover, the dam served as a crucial conduit for transporting water from the Dnipro River to Crimea, which is currently under Russian occupation. This implies that the availability of water resources in the region will be impacted.
In 2014, when Russia took control of Crimea, Ukraine stopped the flow of water from Nova Kakhovka, leading to a shortage of water in the region.
After the complete invasion last year, the Russian forces opened the channel again. However, if the dam is not present, then there is a possibility that the water levels may decrease, which can again cause problems in the water flow along the channel.
Since the invasion, Russia has launched multiple attacks on dams in Ukraine, leading to massive floods and causing significant disruptions to the power supply.
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