Jun 08, 2023

Ukraine dam disaster: CSI provides aid to affected areas

Thousands of people are in urgent need of help after an explosion at a dam in southern Ukraine flooded dozens of communities along the Dnipro River. CSI is providing emergency assistance through its local partner organization.

Many communities are under water. caritas-spes

Early on June 6, 2023, an explosion destroyed the Nova Kakhovka dam near Kherson in southern Ukraine. The dam spans the Dnipro River, which currently marks the border between Ukrainian- and Russian-controlled territories in the ongoing war.  

About 600 square kilometres is underwater, according to Ukrainian officials. 

At least 30 communities have been flooded with many more at risk of flooding. Around 16,000 people are being evacuated. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have no access to drinking water, according to local officials, and are also in urgent need of food, hygiene items and shelter. Electricity and gas supplies have been cut off. 

CSI’s partners have set up aid stations

CSI’s local partners, Caritas-Spes, are in the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Kherson region and are assisting in the evacuation, including of people with disabilities. 

Immediately after the news of the explosion broke the team began setting up aid stations in the cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa, a transit point for evacuees, where they are assessing needs and providing emergency aid. 

It is expected that most people will try to settle in Odesa, as Mykolaiv is currently experiencing frequent shelling. 

CSI is providing immediate financial assistance to Caritas-Spes to assist in the provision of much-needed relief. 

Video showing the flooding of Kherson: caritas-spes

Scale of disaster hard to assess

Videos received from our partners show a picture of devastation: roads under water and villages completely cut off from the outside world. 

According to Caritas-Spes, it is difficult to fully assess the scale of the man-made disaster caused by the breaching of the dam and the loss of the country’s biggest reservoir. 

But farmers depend on the reservoir for water for their crops, and now face a shortage of water that threatens Ukraine’s food security. 

And aid agencies are warning that landmines have been dislodged by the waters and are now floating downstream, posing a risk to human life. 

In addition, the uncontrolled decline in the reservoir level poses a threat to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is located on the shore of the Kakhovka reservoir and is occupied by Russian troops. 

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