Ukraine PM calls dam destruction 'environmental catastrophe'

AFP , Wednesday 7 Jun 2023

Ukraine's prime minister said Wednesday that the destruction of the Kakhovka dam was "one of the most significant environmental catastrophes in Europe in recent decades".

Streets are flooded in Kherson, Ukraine, Wednesday, June 7, 2023 after the Kakhovka dam was blown up. AP


Speaking at the OECD in Paris by video link, Denys Shmyhal said the attack would hit irrigation systems in southern Ukraine "leading to drought and crop failures" while 150 tonnes of machine oil had leaked into the Dnipro river as a result of the breach.

More than 2,700 people have been evacuated on both sides of the Dnipro River from flooding caused by the destruction of the Russian-occupied Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, officials said Wednesday.

A spokesman for Ukraine's emergency services, Oleksandr Khorunzhyi, said on television that "more than 1,450 people have been evacuated".

"Currently there is no information about the dead or injured," he said, adding that the water level in the city of Kherson had risen by five metres.

Officials have said thousands more will have to leave their homes and many are already doing so under their own steam.

The Moscow-installed deputy governor for Kherson region, Tatyana Kuzmich, said 1,274 were evacuated on the Russian-controlled side of the river.

Kuzmich said the figure included 38 people who had been rescued from the roofs of houses, adding that some residents were still stranded.

"According to data from the emergencies ministry, 1,274 have been rescued, 32 of them disabled," she said on Russian state television.

She said there were currently 350 people staying in temporary shelters.

A Russian occupation official in the town of Golaya Pristan, Gennady Nedyalkov, said up to 1,500 people would be evacuated from the town on Wednesday.

"We have already taken out more than 200 people," he said.


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