Nov 19, 2023
The massive flooding caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam on 6 June continued to worsen over the past day and is also impacting communities in Mykolaivska oblast, in addition to the large-scale destruction already caused in Khersonska oblast.
Although water levels, which reached a peak of 5.6 metres in Kherson today, are expected to start receding now, flooding will still last for at least a week, leaving affected people in urgent need of water, food, hygiene and other vital items.
Russian-installed authorities informed that at least 4,000 people had been evacuated from areas under their military control while the Ukrainian Government has called upon international organizations, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assist the affected people in these areas.
Over the last 24 hours, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners continued to rapidly scale up aid operations to support people impacted by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam.
The massive flooding caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam on 6 June continued to worsen over the past day and is also impacting communities in Mykolaivska oblast, in addition to the large-scale destruction already caused in Khersonska oblast, according to information provided by Ukrainian authorities and aid organizations. An estimated 600 km2 of Khersonska oblast is reportedly under water, with nearly 70 per cent of the flooded communities located on the lower left bank of the Dnipro River, currently under Russian military control, according to assessments from the Ukrainian Government. Although water levels, which reached a peak of 5.6 metres in Kherson today, are expected to start receding now, flooding will still last for at least a week, leaving affected people in urgent need of water, food, hygiene and other vital items.
In areas of Khersonska oblast under Ukrainian control, at least 2,200 people have been forced from their homes, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), although the actual number of displaced people could be much higher as many people have stayed close to their homes, in higher parts of their villages and towns, and did not join the evacuations provided by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU) and the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. Electricity, water and gas supplies were partially interrupted in Kherson city and at least a dozen other locations, according to the authorities and partners on the ground. Damage to sewage systems and a lack of clean water are feared to risk the spread of waterborne diseases. Attacks today on Kherson city, which reportedly injured several civilians, including two emergency rescuers and a health worker, according to the Governor, add to the challenges civilians and those providing assistance face.
In areas of Khersonska oblast under the military control of the Russian Federation, at least 5 people were reportedly killed, and over 40 were injured due to the flooding, according to Russian-installed authorities. There have been uncorroborated reports shared by media and civil society organizations about people stranded in the worst-affected parts of the Russian-controlled areas, including Hola Prystan and Oleshky towns, without adequate assistance, due to a lack of access for aid workers and volunteer groups. Russian-installed authorities informed that at least 4,000 people had been evacuated while the Ukrainian Government has called upon international organizations, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assist the affected people in these areas. The UN currently has no access to areas under Russian control in Khersonska oblast.
In the neighbouring Mykolaivska oblast, water levels have steadily increased in the Inhulets River, flooding a water pumping station and several towns of Horokhivska and Snihurivska hromadas, reportedly leaving nearly 300 houses flooded and forcing around 500 people from their homes, according to the regional government. This, and the destruction of the dam itself, has already impacted water access to over 17,000 people.
The extent of the impact of the disaster caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam – including its environmental impact – will only be known in the coming weeks. To date, it is already expected that the flooding will have serious consequences for agricultural production, will affect the provision of potable water to over 700,000 people in southern Ukraine, increase the risk of mine accidents due to the movement of explosives in heavily contaminated areas, and aggravate an already serious humanitarian situation. A mass death of fish in Dnipropetrovska oblast due to the shallowing of the Kakhovka Water Reservoir was already reported as an immediate environmental impact.
Over the last 24 hours, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners continued to rapidly scale up aid operations to support people impacted by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. Since the explosion and the consequent massive flooding during the early hours of 6 June, humanitarian organizations have reached, in close coordination with local authorities, at least 18,000 people with vital aid, mainly food, water and cash assistance, but also support with hygiene kits, mobile health and counselling, evacuations, accommodation and critical household items.
The World Food Programme (WFP), with support from the national NGO Tarilka, distributed ready-to-eat food to 18,000 people in Khersonska and Mykolaivska oblasts in the past two days. Save the Children started the distribution of one-month worth of food for about 5,000 people.
Support with water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) has also increased over the past hours, with a focus on bottled water distributions, water tanks and water trucking. UNICEF has provided 115,000 bottles of water, over 10,000 water purification tablets, sanitation supplies and 1,700 hygiene kits. IOM provided about 5,000 bottles of drinking water and 10 large water bladders (5,000 litres) to the affected populations in Khersonska oblast. Save the Children provided 3,000 bottles of water and 1,000 hygiene kits. The United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) delivered dignity kits to support about 600 older people affected by the flooding in Kherson city. UNICEF is working with the Government and partners to develop both short-term and longer-term solutions to ensure water and wastewater infrastructure that has been damaged is operational. This is critical to preventing the spread of waterborne diseases. Many NGOs, including International Medical Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council, People in Need, Project Hope, Solidarites International and Water Mission, have also provided support since 6 June. As the water supply to the industrial towns such as Nikopol, Marhanets and Pokrov in Dnipropetrovska oblast is interrupted due to the rapid lowering of the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir, humanitarians prepared to send a train with water to be delivered to these towns to provide water trucking to support some 175,000 affected people in the upcoming days.
Cash assistance has also increased, and around 5,000 people have already received this kind of assistance in the last 48 hours, and more are being registered for support. UNICEF alone provided cash assistance to nearly 1,500 parents with children to ensure people forced from their homes would have resources to purchase essential supplies for their daughters and sons. Around 14 humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies and NGOs, will boost cash assistance in the days ahead, with a focus on Kherson, but also supporting people directly affected in Mykolaiv or those who fled from Kherson to Mykolaivska oblast or to Odesa.
Protection services, including counselling, activities for children, and legal services, are being provided by around 30 humanitarian partners, focusing on train and bus stops and collective centres. Additionally, five NGOs conduct specific protection services in Khersonska oblast to support women with children, older people and people with disabilities. Specialists of the UNFPA's Survivor Relief Centre and the Ukraine Red Cross Society are helping with evacuations, psychosocial assistance and first-line information referral. As of 8 June, the Ukrainian Red Cross supported the State Emergency Service of Ukraine with the evacuation of 140 disabled and older people from the areas affected by the flooding to safer places. UNICEF's pop-up Spilno Child Spots have been established at transit locations in Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa train stations to provide children with psychosocial support. UNICEF multi-disciplinary teams, consisting of medical professionals and psychologists, are established at transit points, such as bus and train stations, to support people on the move.
Humanitarians are also stepping up efforts to support the prevention of mine and other explosive accidents. The Danish Refugee Council has been providing mine awareness material at the Mykolaiv train station since 7 June. UNDP is also working on distributing explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) materials, broadcasting messages, and producing a ‘minefield map’ of the flood-induced mine contamination of the area.
For more information, please contact OCHA Ukraine:
Saviano Abreu, [email protected]Download Report HIGHLIGHTS HUMANITARIAN SITUATION HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE