Days after the collapse of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro river in south-eastern Ukraine, appeals and warnings are being launched from many quarters so that attention does not diminish, leaving a territory already affected by almost a year and a half of conflict, abandoned to the consequences which are expected to be very serious, between enormous environmental damage and a potentially devastating economic impact, as well as a humanitarian crisis which is already an emergency, according to theHim.
And it is precisely that of the United Nations that is the last voice to be raised, only in order of time, which is thundering in these hours: the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has “enormously worsened” after the breaking of the Kakhovka dam. These are the words of the head of UN Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, who recalled that 700,000 people need clean water and that the flooding of farmland in one of the world‘s most important ‘breadbaskets’ will cause a “cascade of problems”, including reduced grain exports, rising food prices globally and reduced availability of food for millions of people most in need.
So far, Griffiths said, the United Nations, together with Ukrainian NGOs, has reached 30,000 people in flooded areas under Ukrainian control. The senior official also said he has met with the Russian ambassador to the UN to gain access to Russian-controlled areas to help those affected by the floods. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities report that around 2,600 people have been rescued and in fact saved from the flood.
The evacuations continues and it is a race against time, because even if the waters gradually recede, as Ukrainian officials confirmed in the past few hours, “Thirty-five settlements remain flooded on the right bank, 3,763 houses are under water”, said Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the military administration of Kherson. But the city of the same name, in southern Ukraine, has been bombed again by Russian troops even while the evacuation is in progress: the Korabel district, and the center of the city, a 16-year-old girl and an agent of police were injured, reports Rbc-Ukraine adding that the cannon shots damaged apartment buildings and later fires broke out.
War is everywhere and by definition it strikes without warning, but the episode of the Kakhovka dam forces us to face even one of the more subtle risks of some conflicts, that posed by mines. They are not counted in Ukraine, and now they are being dragged by the waters released by the damaged dam, spreading everywhere, posing risks and damage for years to come.
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