At least seven missing in Russian-controlled Nova Kakhovka after dam collapse

Many have been left without adequate drinking water, while many animals have been killed and people have been forced to evacuate from their homes.

 A satellite image shows Nova Khakovka Dam in Kherson region, Ukraine May 28, 2023. (photo credit: MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
A satellite image shows Nova Khakovka Dam in Kherson region, Ukraine May 28, 2023.

At least seven people are missing after waters from the destroyed Nova Kakhovka dam flooded nearby areas, Russia's TASS news agency cited the Moscow-installed mayor of the city of Nova Kakhovka as saying on Wednesday.

The Moscow-controlled Nova Kakhvovka dam on the Dnipro River was destroyed on Tuesday, flooding a swathe of the frontline in the Kherson region, forcing villagers to flee. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the dam collapse.

About 42,000 people were at risk from flooding in Russian and Ukrainian controlled areas along the Dnipro River, said Ukrainian officials, as the United Nations aid chief warned of "grave and far-reaching consequences."

"Of seven people we know for sure (are missing)," TASS cited Nova Kakhvovka mayor Vladimir Leontiev as saying. More than 900 people were evacuated on Tuesday from the Russian-controlled city of some 45,000 people, which sits on the left bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukrainian officials said that some 80 communities in the overall Kherson region are at risk of being flooded.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine had left hundreds of thousands of people without normal access to drinking water.

"The destruction of one of the largest water reservoirs in Ukraine is absolutely deliberate ... Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without normal access to drinking water," Zelensky said on the Telegram messaging app.

People trapped, animals killed in flooding

The governor of Ukraine's Kherson region, Oleksandr Prokudin, said on Wednesday that 1,582 houses have been flooded on the right bank of the Dnipro River and some 1,457 people have been evacuated overnight.

Earlier, Prokudin also said that one civilian person was killed and one injured over the past day as a result of Russia's shelling on the region and the city of Kherson itself.

Up to 100 people in the Russian-controlled town of Nova Kakhovka are trapped and thousands of wild animals have been killed after the dam's collapse, according to the Russian-installed mayor.

Over 30,000 cubic meters of water was pouring out of the reservoir the dam held back every second and the town was at risk of contamination from the floods, the TASS news agency quoted the official, Vladimir Leontyev, as saying.

He said rescue efforts were being undertaken to free people trapped by the floods.

A graveyard, a burial site for cattle, and a special pit where dead animals were disinfected had all been covered with water, the RIA news agency cited an unnamed emergency services official as saying.

Leontyev, the mayor, was cited by RIA as saying that "thousands of animals" at the Nizhnedniprovsky National Nature Park had also been killed, and that the scale of the disaster was "huge."

Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the destruction of the dam, which has sent floodwaters across a war zone and forced thousands to flee. Some independent experts say the dam may have collapsed due to earlier damage and intense pressure on it.