Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Ukrainian Dam Breach: What's Happening and What's at Stake
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 11 months ago on
June 7, 2023

Share

KYIV, Ukraine — The fallout from the breach of a river dam along a front line of Russia’s war in Ukraine continued to wreak havoc on lives, livelihoods and the environment on Wednesday.

When the Kakhovka dam ruptured on Tuesday, it sent a torrent of water from Ukraine’s largest reservoir into streets and homes downstream on the Dnieper River where tens of thousands of people live — in the thick of a combat zone where shelling regularly takes place.

It’s not clear what caused the breach: the structure had already been damaged in the war.

Ukraine’s government, which controls the river’s western bank and the city of Kherson, has accused Russian forces of blowing up the facility.

Officials in Russia, which controls the eastern bank for about the last 185 miles before the river reaches the Black Sea, have blamed Ukrainian military strikes.

What Are the Latest Developments?

Authorities and rescue workers on both sides stepped up efforts Wednesday to pull beleaguered residents to higher and drier ground.

Volunteers in the city of Kherson buzzed around in inflatable motor boats to ferry people to safety or gather belongings left behind a day before.

Around 3,000 people were evacuated from both sides of the river, and water levels were continuing to rise, officials said.

Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson regional administration, said some 1,700 people had been evacuated in Ukraine-controlled areas by early afternoon on Wednesday. Hundreds of calls for help were still pouring into a government hotline, he said. The area has a population of about 42,000.

On the Russia-controlled bank, Moscow-appointed regional governor Vladimir Saldo said that 22,000 to 40,000 people remained in flooded areas. His deputy, Tatyana Kuzmich, said 1,274 people had been evacuated, and that the emergency response would last at least 10 days.

The head of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, tweeted about “concerning developments” in the wake of the dam breach. He said he would travel next week to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which sits upstream on the edge of the reservoir.

Water from the river is used for cooling at the nuclear plant — Europe’s largest — but officials have said the dam breach poses no immediate risk to its safety.

Who and What Remains at Risk?

The office of Ukraine’s general prosecutor said water levels downstream from the dam rose as much as 39 feet above normal levels, causing flooding in more than two dozen villages and towns in liberated areas.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram that hundreds of thousands of people were without normal access to drinking water. Evacuation efforts in occupied areas had “completely failed,” he wrote, and Kyiv would appeal for international support.

Experts warned about the possibility of an environmental disaster for wildlife and ecosystems. Some of the biggest minefields in Ukraine were inundated, raising the prospect that the explosives could be moved around.

Ukrainian authorities urged locals to drink only bottled water and avoid eating fish from the river, among other warnings.

Why Is the Dam Important?

Operational since the mid-1950s under the Soviet Union, the dam and its associated hydroelectric power station are located about 70 kilometers (44 miles) east of the city of Kherson, and help bring electricity, irrigation, and drinking water to a wide swath of southern Ukraine.

Water in the reservoir is also channeled through a long canal that stretches to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed nine years ago.

Ukraine’s vast agricultural heartland, which is partially fed by the Dnieper River, is crucial to worldwide supplies of grain, sunflower oil, and other foodstuffs.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

DON'T MISS

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

DON'T MISS

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

DON'T MISS

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

DON'T MISS

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

DON'T MISS

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

DON'T MISS

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

DON'T MISS

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

DON'T MISS

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

UP NEXT

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

UP NEXT

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

UP NEXT

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

UP NEXT

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

UP NEXT

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

UP NEXT

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

UP NEXT

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

UP NEXT

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

3 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

3 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

3 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

3 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

4 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

5 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

5 hours ago

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

6 hours ago

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

6 hours ago

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

6 hours ago

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

Fresno Unified says it doesn’t have a superintendent succession plan even though a human resources leader pointed to one in her public...

4 mins ago

4 mins ago

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

57 mins ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

Local Education /
2 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

3 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

3 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

3 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

3 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

4 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend