While much media reporting on the June 6th destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine has focused on the ‘whodunnit’ aspect to the explosion, many thousands of people downriver continue to suffer, after an nearly five cubic miles of water has submerged villages and farmland in the Kherson oblast.
Basic infrastructure and utilities have been destroyed in much of the region, leaving an estimated 700,000 people in the broader area in need of clean water.
Al Jazeera writes that “Among displaced communities along the banks of Ukraine’s Dnipro River, bottled water has become the most coveted commodity.”
“It is all poisoned,” a representative with the NGO Project Hope told the publication, describing the impacted population as “very tired” and “very stressed” due to the ongoing humanitarian disaster.
Al Jazeera observes that “The man-made flood washed away chemical fertilisers from cultivated fields, flushed away pollutants from the riverbed, submerged cemeteries and released at least 150 tonnes of machine oil from the breached dam with additional fuel and industrial waste likely to have been discharged from plants around it.”
There are growing fears the floodwaters could bring waterborne diseases based on decomposing bodies – both human and animal – which were killed during the initial massive flooding. Health workers are concerned over possible cholera outbreaks in particular.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued to maintain that Russia had deliberately blown up the dam as “an act of terrorism”, calling it a “brutal ecocide”.
But the Kremlin has pointed out it would have no reason to blow up a critical piece of infrastructure vital to sending water to the Crimea. Western officials and media reports too have grown largely quiet in terms of any potential “investigation” into which side was behind the sabotage.
Fri, 06/16/2023 – 22:00