By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KHERSON/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Kyiv pleaded for international help on Wednesday as tens of thousands of people were at risk of drowning following the collapse of a gigantic dam in a Russian-occupied region of southern Ukraine.
Panicked-stricken people who had already fled their homes due to severe flooding scrambled for safety again as apparent Russian shelling was heard overhead, showed footage seen by Worthy News.
Yet despite these dangers, rescue workers continued to deploy boats to rescue people from the Kherson region.
There was little time left as flood waters could be seen chest high in several parts of this area. Some people desperately waved for help from the rooftops of their inundated homes.
The damage to the Nova Kakhovka dam in the Dnipro near Ukraine’s port city of Kherson overwhelmed rescue workers.
Kyiv said Russia blew up the dam to prevent its forces from crossing the Dnipro River to continue a counter-offensive against invading Russian troops, but Moscow denied these charges. Ukrainian officials said at least 42,000 people were already at imminent risk of severe flooding.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has accused Kremlin-appointed officials of failing to evacuate local people and has urged international organizations to help.
DRINKING WATER TROUBLES
Zelensky also said that “hundreds of thousands” are without regular access to clean drinking water following the breach.
Ukrainian officials have already described the tragedy as “the biggest eco-disaster” since the nuclear Chernobyl power plant explosion in 1986.
Ukrainian forces said they witnessed Russian soldiers swept up in flood waters after the Nova Kakhovka dam burst. Many Russians were killed or injured, according to Ukrainian military sources.
If confirmed, these casualties would add to the long list of hundreds of thousands of people killed or injured in what is now Europe’s bloodiest armed conflict this century.
But there were no signs Wednesday of peace arriving soon, with Ukrainian forces advancing in “various sections of the Bakhmut direction,” according to Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar.
The minister stressed that troops had switched from being defensive to offensive in the area in eastern Ukraine, which has seen one of the war’s bloodiest battles.
Moscow had earlier said it had defeated Ukrainian attacks near the city, which it claimed fell under Russian control last month. But Kyiv says it will launch a counteroffensive as part of efforts to recapture areas seized by Russia.
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