Eastern Europe

Nova Kakhovka Dam Blown Up: Thousands Flee Rising Water

Water is Released from the Nova Kakhovka Dam

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On Tuesday, an explosion at the Nova Kakhovka dam, which sits on the Dnipro River in the Russian-controlled Kherson region of southern Ukraine, unleashed a massive wall of water flooding Kherson city, Kakhovka, and 80 villages located downstream of the dam. Upstream, many residents have suddenly found themselves with an unstable water supply The apocalyptic event has also led to the loss of power for some 12,000 residents in the area as the Ministry of Energy has proactively been cutting power to customers as there are concerns about maintaining the water levels in the cooling pools for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest.

While it is not yet clear who is responsible for the explosion that destroyed the dam, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has already taken to Twitter to blame “Russian terrorists” for the disaster.

Russia has denied causing the dam breach, with the Russian-installed chief of the Kherson administration, Vladimir Saldo, placing blame for the attack on Ukraine.

“The destruction led to a large, but not critical amount of water flowing down the Dnieper. It will not prevent our military from defending the left bank,” Saldo said. He went on to accuse Ukraine of attacking the dam to “divert attention” from its recent failed counteroffensive.

Meanwhile, the Russian Mayor of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontiev, explained that the “night attacks” on the dam had “led to the destruction of the valves” and that “water from the Kakhovka reservoir began to uncontrollably be discharged downstream.”

Images from social media show a comparison of the dam and hydroelectric power station before the attack and after.

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Zelensky took to Telegram to warn that as many as 80 settlements in the Kherson region are in possible flood zones. “We do everything to save people. All services, military, Government, Office are involved,” the president posted. He also gave orders to have the affected areas evacuated and to have drinking water provided to the areas that relied on the Karhovsky Reservoir for water.

Meanwhile, other social media videos show entire houses being washed away by the rising waters.

As water gushed out of the Kakhovka Reservoir concerns rose over maintaining safe water levels in the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant cooling pools which rely on the reservoir for filling.

“Water from the Kakhovka Reservoir is necessary for the station to receive power for the turbine capacitors and safety systems of the ZNPP. The station’s cooling pond is now full: as of 8:00 a.m., the water level is 16.6 meters, which is sufficient for the station’s needs,” Ukraine’s state power agency said.

While who is to blame for the disaster remains unclear, it is evident that the Kherson region has many challenges ahead of it. Hopefully, the levels in the cooling pools remain stable or Kherson could have much bigger problems in the future.

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