The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is “hugely worse” than before the Kakhovka dam collapsed, the U.N.'s top aid official warned Friday. Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths said an “extraordinary” 700,000 people are in need of drinking water and warned that the ravages of flooding in one of the world’s most important breadbaskets will almost inevitably lead to lower grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less to eat for millions in need “This is a viral problem,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But the truth is this is only the beginning of seeing the consequences of this act.” The rupture of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and emptying of its reservoir on the Dnieper River on Wednesday added to the misery in a region that has suffered for more than a year from artillery and missile attacks. Ukraine holds the Dnieper’s western bank, while Russian troops control the low-lying eastern side, which is more vulnerable to flooding. The dam and reservoir, essential for fresh water and irrigation in southern Ukraine, lies in the Kherson region that Moscow illegally annexed in September and has occupied for the past year. Griffiths said the United Nations, working mainly through Ukrainian aid groups, has reached 30,000 people in flooded areas under Ukrainian control. He said that so far Russia has not given access to areas it controls for the U.N. to help flood victims. Also read: A dam collapses and thousands face the deluge — often with no help — in Russian-occupied Ukraine Griffiths said he met with Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, on Wednesday to ask Russian authorities “for access for our teams in Ukraine to go across the front lines to give aid, to provide support for … Ukrainians in those areas.” “We're providing them with details as we speak, to enable Moscow to meet what we hope will be a positive decision on this,” he said. “I hope that will come through.” The emergency response is essential to save lives, he said, “but behind that you’ve got a huge, looming problem of a lack of proper drinking water for those 700,000 people” on both the Ukrainian-controlled and Russian-controlled sides of the river. There is also the flooding of important agricultural land and a looming problem of providing cooling water for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, which had been supplied from the dam, he added. In addition, Griffiths noted that waters also have rushed over areas with land mines from the war “and what we are bound to be seeing are those mines floating in places where people don’t expect them,” threatening adults and especially children. Also read: Drone footage of collapsed dam shows ruined structure, devastation and no sign of life “So it’s a cascade of problems, starting with allowing people to survive today, and then giving them some kind of prospects for tomorrow,” he said. Griffiths said that because of the wide-ranging consequences “it’s almost inevitable” that the United Nations will launch a special appeal for more aid funds for Ukraine to deal with “a whole new order of magnitude” from the dam’s rupture. But he said he wants to wait a few weeks to see the economic, health and environmental consequences before announcing the appeal. Griffiths said he and U.N. trade chief Rebeca Grynspan are also working to ensure the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which Turkey and the U.N. brokered with Ukraine and Russia last July to open three Black Sea ports in Ukraine for its grain exports. More than 30,000 metric tons of wheat and other foodstuff has been shipped under the deal, leading to a decline in global food prices that skyrocketed after Russia's Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine. It has been extended three times and is due to expire July 17. Also read: Ukrainian dam breach: What is happening and what's at stake Part of the deal was a memorandum signed by Russia and the U.N. aimed at overcoming obstacles to Russian food and fertilizer shipments that Moscow has repeatedly complained are not being fulfilled. A key Russian demand has been the reopening of a pipeline between the Russian port of Togliatti on the Volga River and the Black Sea port of Odesa that has been shut down since Russia’s attack on Ukraine. It carried ammonia, a key ingredient of fertilizer. “Opening that pipeline and delivering ammonia across the Black Sea to the global south is a priority for all of us,” Griffiths said. “Ammonia is an essential ingredient for global food security.” A rupture in the pipeline was reported from shelling late Tuesday, but Griffiths said the U.N. couldn’t confirm it because the pipeline is in the middle of a war zone. “We, of course, are very, very strongly of the view that we need that repaired as quickly as possible,” he said. “So let’s hope it’s not too badly damaged.” He said the Ukrainians have told the U.N. they will get to the pipeline, which is on their territory, “as soon as they can.” Griffiths said the Ukrainians see opening the pipeline as part of a package that would also include Russian agreement to open a fourth Black Sea port at Mykolaiv to export more grain. Negotiations have been taking place in recent weeks, including at a meeting Friday in Geneva between U.N. trade chief Grynspan and Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergey Vershinin. “We're not there yet,” Griffiths said. “I hope that we'll make it.”
For days, the Ukrainian teenager has waited in the attic, just down the street from the cemetery of her flooded town, marking time with her 83-year-old grandfather and two other elderly people and hoping for help to escape the deluge of a catastrophic dam collapse. But help is slow in coming to Oleshky, a Russian-occupied town across the Dnieper River from the city of Kherson with a prewar population of 24,000, according to those stranded and their desperate Ukrainian rescuers. Russian forces are taking rescuers' boats, they say. Some say the soldiers will only help people with Russian passports. Also Read: Drone footage of collapsed dam shows ruined structure, devastation and no sign of life "Russian soldiers are standing at the checkpoints, preventing (rescuers) from approaching the most-affected areas and taking away the boats," said one volunteer, Yaroslav Vasiliev. "They are afraid of saboteurs, they suspect everyone." So 19-year-old Yektarina But and the three elderly people with her simply wait, along with thousands of others believed to be trapped by floodwaters spread across 600 square kilometers (230 square miles) of the Kherson region. About two-thirds of the flooded areas are in territory occupied by Russia, officials said. The group in the attic have no electricity, no running water, no food. The battery on But's cellphone is dying. "We are afraid that no one will know about our deaths," she said in a brief cellphone interview, her voice trembling. "Everything around us is flooded," she said. "There is still no help." Her grandfather, who had suffered a stroke, was running out of medicine, she said. One woman with her, a neighbor's grandmother, could not move on her own. Others have been turned away from rescue. Also Read: Zelenskyy visits area flooded by destroyed dam as five reported dead in Russian-occupied town Viktoria Mironova-Baka said she has been in touch from Germany with relatives stuck in the flooded region. "My relatives said that Russian soldiers were coming up to the house today by boat, but they said they would only take those with Russian passports," she told The Associated Press. Her grandmother, aunt and more than a dozen other people are taking shelter in the attic of a two-story house. Details of life in Russian-occupied Ukraine are often unclear. The AP could not independently verify reports of boat seizures or that only Russians were being evacuated, but the account is in line with reporting by independent Russian media. It's a sharp contrast to Ukrainian-controlled territory flooded by the dam collapse. Authorities there have aggressively evacuated civilians and brought in emergency supplies. On Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to the area to assess the damage. Russian President Vladimir Putin "has no plans at the current moment" to visit affected Moscow-occupied areas, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. also read: Ukrainian dam breach: What is happening and what's at stake This region has suffered terribly since Russia invaded Ukraine early last year, enduring sometimes-relentless artillery and missile attacks. The latest disaster began Tuesday, when the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) upstream from Oleshky, collapsed, sending torrents of water down the Dnieper River and across the war's front lines. Officials say more than 6,000 people have been evacuated from dozens of inundated cities, towns and villages on both sides of the river. But the true scale of the disaster remains unclear for a region that was once home to tens of thousands of people. At least 14 people have died in the flooding, many are homeless, and tens of thousands are without drinking water. The floods ruined crops, displaced land mines, caused widespread environmental damage, and set the stage for long-term electricity shortages. Ukraine says Russia destroyed the dam with explosives. Russia accuses Ukraine of destroying it with a missile strike. A drone flown Wednesday by an AP team over the dam's wreckage revealed none of the scorch marks or shrapnel scars typical of a bombardment. The bulk of the dam itself is now submerged, and The AP images offered a limited snapshot, making it difficult to rule out any scenario. The dam also had been weakened by Russian neglect and water had been washing over it for weeks. It had been under Russian control since the invasion in February 2022. Compounding the tragedy, Russia has been shelling areas hit by the flooding, including the front-line city of Kherson. On Thursday, Russian shelling echoed not far from a square in Kherson where emergency crews and volunteers were dispensing aid. Some evacuation points in the city were hit, wounding nine people, according to Ukrainian officials. The floodwaters have irrevocably changed the landscape downstream, and shifted the dynamic of the 15-month-old war. Oleshky Mayor Yevhen Ryshchuk said that by Thursday afternoon water levels were beginning to fall, but roughly 90% of the city remained flooded. Ryshchuk fled after Russian forces tried to force him to collaborate, but he remains in close contact with people in and around the city. Russia says it is helping the region's civilians. Moscow-appointed regional Gov. Vladimir Saldo claimed over 4,000 people had been evacuated from the flood zones. He shared a video showing empty beds in shelters prepared for evacuees. Ryshchuk dismisses such talk. He said some people trying to leave flooded areas were forced back by Russian soldiers who accused them of being "waiters" — people waiting for Ukraine to reclaim control of the region. Others, who called the Russian-controlled emergency services, were told they would have to wait for help, he said. "That's it," he said. "Yesterday, some Russians came in the morning, took a few people off the roofs, filmed a video, and left. That's everything they have done as of today." The help that made it through has been scattered. Ukrainian military footage, for instance, showed their forces dropping a bottle of water from a drone to a boy trapped with his mother and sister in the attic of their home near Oleshky. Ukrainian soldiers later evacuated the family and their pets to the city of Kherson, National Police reported. Much of the help is being organized by volunteers communicating on the encrypted app Telegram. Messages about stranded people, often trapped on the roofs of their houses, appear in these groups every few minutes. Most are posted by relatives in safer areas. Just one of these volunteer groups has a map showing over 1,000 requests to locate and rescue people, mostly in Oleshky and the nearby town of Hola Prystan. A woman helping with one of the groups, who spoke on condition her name not be used for fear of reprisals from the Russian occupiers, shared a message with an AP journalist. "We were looking for a person named Serhii Borzov," the message read. "He was found. Unfortunately, dead. Our condolences to the relatives."
Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russian forces of blowing up a major dam and hydroelectric power station in a part of southern Ukraine that Moscow controls, sending water gushing from the breached facility and threatening what officials called an "ecological disaster" due to possible massive flooding. Officials from both sides in the war ordered hundreds of thousands of residents downriver to evacuate. Russian officials countered that the Kakhovka dam, on the Dnipro river, was damaged by Ukrainian military strikes in the contested area. The fallout could have broad consequences: Flooding homes, streets and businesses downstream; depleting water levels upstream that help cool Europe's largest nuclear power plant; and draining supplies of drinking water to the south in Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed. Also Read: Russia claims Ukraine is launching major attacks; Kyiv accuses Moscow of misinformation The dam break added a complex new element to Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, now in its 16th month. Ukrainian forces were widely seen to be moving forward with a long-anticipated counteroffensive in patches along more than 1,000-kilometers of frontline in the east and south of Ukraine. Ukraine's nuclear operator Energoatom said in a Telegram statement that the blowing up of the dam "could have negative consequences" for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is Europe's biggest, but wrote that for now the situation is "controllable." The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency wrote on Twitter that its experts were closely monitoring the situation at the plant, and there was "no immediate nuclear safety risk" at the facility. Ukrainian authorities have previously warned that the dam's failure could unleash 18 million cubic meters (4.8 billion gallons) of water and flood Kherson and dozens of other areas where hundreds of thousands of people live. The World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, estimated that nearly 100 villages and towns would be flooded. It also reckoned that the water level would start dropping only after 5-7 days. Also Read: Ukraine keeps up pressure following Russian declaration of victory in Bakhmut A total collapse in the dam would wash away much of the left bank and a severe drop in the reservoir has the potential to deprive the nuclear plant of crucial cooling, as well as dry up the water supply in northern Crimea, according to the Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Working Group, an organization of environmental activists and experts documenting the war's environmental effects. Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that "a global ecological disaster is playing out now, online, and thousands of animals and ecosystems will be destroyed in the next few hours." Videos posted online began testifying to the spillover. One showed floodwaters inundating a long roadway; another showed a beaver scurrying for high ground from rising waters. Zelenskyy called an emergency meeting to deal with the crisis, Ukrainian officials said. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry called for residents of 10 villages on the Dnipro's right bank and parts of the city of Kherson downriver to gather essential documents and pets, turn off appliances, and leave, while cautioning against possible disinformation. Also Read: Blinken says no Ukraine cease-fire without a peace deal that includes Russia's withdrawal The Russian-installed mayor of occupied Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontyev, said it was being evacuated as water poured into the city. Ukraine controls five of the six dams along the Dnipro, which runs from its northern border with Belarus down to the Black Sea and is crucial for the entire country's drinking water and power supply. Footage from what appeared to be a monitoring camera overlooking the dam that was circulating on social media purported to show a flash, explosion and breakage of the dam. Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said in a video posted to Telegram shortly before 7 a.m. that "the Russian army has committed yet another act of terror," and warned that water will reach "critical levels" within five hours. The Kakhovska dam was completely destroyed, Ukraine's state hydro power generating company wrote in a statement: "The station cannot be restored." Ukrhydroenergo also claimed that Russia blew up the station from inside the engine room. Leontyev, the Russian-appointed mayor, said Tuesday that numerous strikes on the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant destroyed its valves, and "water from the Kakhovka reservoir began to uncontrollably flow downstream." Leontyev added that damage to the station was beyond repair, and it would have to be rebuilt. Energoatom, the nuclear operator, wrote that the Kakhovka reservoir, where water levels are "rapidly decreasing," was necessary "for the plant to feed the turbine condensers and ZNPP safety systems," the statement said. "Currently the station cooling pond is full: as of 8 am, the water level is at 16.6 meters, and this is enough for the needs of the station," it said. Ukraine and Russia have previously accused each other of targeting the dam with attacks, and last October Zelenskyy predicted that Russia would destroy the dam in order to cause a flood. Authorities, experts and residents have for months expressed concerns about water flows through — and over — the Kakhovka dam. In February, water levels were so low that many feared a meltdown at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, whose cooling systems are supplied with water from the Kakhovka reservoir held up by the dam. By mid-May, after heavy rains and snow melt, water levels rose beyond normal levels, flooding nearby villages. Satellite images showed water washing over damaged sluice gates.
A dam along the coastal areas of the district is on the verge of collapse, with incessant showers having caused all major rivers across the district to swell. With water levels of all the major rivers in Ashashuni and Shyamnagar upazilas of the district rising by the hour, several low-lying areas have already been inundated. Many fish enclosures have been washed away in these two upazilas, officials said. Zulfikar Ali Ripon, officer-in-charge of Satkhira Weather Observatory Centre, attributed the showers to the depression in the Bay of Bengal. Read Also: Two months after Cyclone Amphan, why are residents of Koyra still languishing in shelter centres? The weather department has recorded 30mm of rainfall in the district in the past 24 hours, he said. Abul Khayer, executive engineer of Satkhira Water Development Board, said that a 62-km span of the dam at 35 points of the coastal areas, out of 800km, is at risk of collapse, though repair work is under way.
An embankment built to prevent erosion by the Kopotakkho river in Charmukha area under Khulna’s Koyra upazila has been ruined due to increased water pressure. The embankment started to break on Sunday noon. The locals are fearing that vast areas will be inundated due to high tide if the embankment isn’t repaired in due time. According to Osman Gani, a member of the local ward, a road on one side of the Charmukha canal went into the riverbed around 4:00am. “The road was in a precarious condition for a long time. Many other roads and houses have started to go extinct due to increased flow of the Kopotakkho river. We’re trying to repair the dam on our own initiative. Large parts of the area will be inundated if we can’t repair the dam within the next one to two hours,” Osman said. Read: Onrush of upstream water threatens Chandpur town protection embankment
Another 30- metre span of flood control dam in Dhunat upazila of Bogura collapsed into the Jamuna River due to strong currents Tuesday. No sooner had the Water Development Board (WDB) repaired a 20-metre area of the dam that collapsed on August 5, this incident happened at the same spot around 12 am Tuesday, said Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sanjay Kumar Mahanto. Also read: 100-metre stretch of Sirajganj town protection dam washed away From Tuesday morning the WDB officials were dumping sand filled geobags in the area as a temporary measure while concerned authorities had been contacted to permanently repair the span, said the UNO. In 2003, WDB established the 7 kilometers long dam and two spans to prevent Jamuna River erosion from Vandarbari union to Dhakuria union of Kazipur upazila. Vandarbari UP chairman Atikul Karim Apel said the locals' demand is to fix the span as soon as possible otherwise 15 villages of the union will be gulped away by River Jamuna. Also read: Padma river embankment risks catastrophic collapse Executive engineer of WDB Mahbubur Rahman said efforts are ongoing to prevent further collapse.
China’s military has blasted a dam to release floodwaters threatening one of its most heavily populated provinces, as the death toll in widespread flooding rose to at least 25. The dam operation was carried out late Tuesday night in the city of Luoyang, just as severe flooding overwhelmed the Henan provincial capital of Zhengzhou, trapping residents in the subway system and stranding them at schools, apartments and offices.: Another seven people were reported missing, provincial officials said at a news conference. Read: Flooding in central China turns streets to rivers, kills 12 A video posted on Twitter by news site The Paper showed subway passengers standing in chest-high muddy brown water as torrents raged in the tunnel outside. Transport and work have been disrupted throughout the province, with rain turning streets into rapidly flowing rivers, washing away cars and rising into people’s homes. At least 10 trains carrying about 10,000 passengers were halted, including three for more than 40 hours, according to Caixin, a business news magazine. Sections of 26 highways were closed due to the rain, the Transport Ministry said on its social media account. A blackout shut down ventilators at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, forcing staff to use hand-pumped airbags to help patients breathe, according to the city’s Communist Party committee. It said more than 600 patients were being transferred to other hospitals. A woman aboard a subway in a flooded tunnel told her husband the water almost reached her neck and passengers had trouble breathing, the Henan Business Daily newspaper reported. Read: France requires COVID pass for Eiffel Tower, tourist venues It said staff at a subway station told her husband all passengers had been evacuated but acknowledged that wasn’t so after he started a video chat with his wife on his cellphone showing she still was aboard. The precise times and locations of the deaths and disappearances weren’t immediately clear, although the province said more than 100,000 people have been evacuated to safety. Henan province has many cultural sites and is a major base for industry and agriculture. It is crisscrossed by multiple waterways, many of them linked to the Yellow River, which has a long history of bursting its banks during periods of intensive rainfall. State media on Wednesday showed waters at waist height, with rain still coming down. To the north of Zhengzhou, the famed Shaolin Temple, known for its Buddhist monks’ mastery of martial arts, was also badly hit. China routinely experiences floods during the summer, but the growth of cities and conversion of farmland into subdivisions has worsened the impact of such events.
Untimely river erosion, far in advance of the monsoon season, has increased the suffering of local residents in the south bank of the Jamuna river, in Enayetpur upazila of Sirajganj. Many houses in the area have been washed away by the river. The victims of this demolition are now living a dreadful life. River erosion is a common scenario in this area. Read Dhaleshwari erosion takes serious turn in Keraniganj Around 20,000 houses have been washed away by the river so far, leaving many families stranded. Local representatives including MPs and ministers have visited the site at least five times in the last four years to see the plight. Every time, they have given various promises to the affected people which includes building a permanent protection dam. Also read: Riverbank erosion displacees await rehabilitation A project worth Tk 600 crore for building a dam that stretches across 6.5 km was submitted to the relevant ministry almost 4 years ago. But no updates on the project have been received ever since. State Minister for Water Resources Ministry Zahid Faruk has visited the site recently and promised to approve the project as soon as possible. However, the recent river erosion, so advanced of the monsoon season, instilled a sense of fear among the local residents. They have set up bamboo fences to prevent erosion on their own initiative. Also read: River rage: Unabated erosion gives villagers sleepless nights The erosion stretched from Brahman village to Hat Pachil area of the upazila. Nasir Uddin, the sub-divisional engineer of the local water development board, said a letter has been sent to the higher authorities to take necessary steps in preventing untimely erosion. Besides, the project for construction of a permanent dam has not been approved yet, he added. Read Padma erosion threatens Daulatdia Ferry Terminal
Defying the government’s fixed rate of Tk 30 per kg, traders are selling potatoes at double prices in the kitchen markets of the capital, pinching the pockets of customers.