Dozens of towns evacuated from floods in southern Ukraine


Evacuation and rescue operations continued on Wednesday in southern Ukraine after the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam sent torrents flooding dozens of towns along the southern front of the conflict zone.

Ukrainian officials say some 42,000 people were affected by the catastrophe on both sides of the Dnipro River, which bisects government-controlled and Russian-occupied territories, and urged civilians to beware of landmines swept downstream. warned.

“Use extreme caution and remember mine safety rules! Do not approach or touch explosives under any circumstances,” in a message shared on social media by the country’s State Emergency Service. Stated.

Kherson Region Chief Executive Oleksandr Prokudin said flooding intensity was on a downward trend, but “water will continue to rush downstream due to the severe destruction of the dam.”

Flood volumes are expected to peak on Wednesday.

Prokudin said 1,852 houses were flooded and 1,457 people were displaced on the west bank of the river, which is still under Ukrainian control.

Police officials said flooded roads and highways in the area made evacuation difficult.

On the other side of the river, Russian-installed officials said water levels appeared to be falling on Wednesday in the town of Nova Kakhovka, which was overrun by Russian forces last year.

The small town next to the dam was quickly engulfed by floodwaters on Tuesday. Local Russian-installed officials said at least seven people were reported missing on the ground.

Overnight, the water level reached dangerous levels in several settlements further downstream, completely submerging the settlements of Korsunka and Orezhky. Authorities have announced a state of emergency across the Russian-held territory, referring to systematic evacuations, but there were no images of the official evacuation process on local social media as of Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated in his regular evening speech on Tuesday that he believed the Russian forces occupying the dam deliberately blew it up from the inside, but the Ukrainian Army General Staff warned that Kiev would counterattack. It added that it was done with the intent to sabotage.

“The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Plant disaster caused by Russian terrorists will not stop Ukraine and Ukrainians. We will continue to liberate all the land,” Zelensky said. “Each act of Russian terrorism only increases the amount of reparations Russia will pay for that crime, it does not increase the likelihood that the occupiers will remain on our land.”

The long-awaited military operation to retake Russia’s occupied territories appears to have begun in recent days, with a surge in attacks along a 1,000-kilometer front and a surge in the Russian invasion of the Belgorod region.

President Zelensky also warned of the global impact of the floods and called on the international community to provide support.

“Man-made disasters are bad for Africa, Europe, the US, China, Australia and India,” he said. “We must stop evil in Russia.”

Martin Griffiths, head of the United Nations Relief Department in New York, told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that the “scale of the catastrophe” at Kherson would become clear in the coming days.

But he said it was already clear that this would have “significant and far-reaching consequences through loss of homes, food, safe water and livelihoods for thousands of people in southern Ukraine on both sides of the front line”. rice field.

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