Flood damage from the destroyed Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine could leave the region a barren wasteland according to the country’s agricultural ministry. Farms and villages on the right bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region have been washed away following the dam’s collapse, which Kyiv has blamed squarely on Russia.
According to initial calculations, the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy has reported a breach of the Kakhovka hydroelectric facility will cause flooding for 10,000 hectares of agricultural land on the right bank of the Kherson region.
The Ministry added a much bigger region on the left bank, which is currently under Russian occupation, could also be affected.
The report published on the Ministry’s website read: “In addition, a man-made disaster will stop the water supply of 31 irrigation systems of the fields of Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.
“In 2021, these systems provided irrigation for 584 thousand hectares of which we collected about 4 million tons of grain and oilseeds, worth about $1.5 billion.
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“In 2023, only 13 irrigation systems operate on the right bank of the Dnieper. The terrorist act at the Kakhovka hydroelectric station actually left 94 percent of irrigation systems in Kherson without a water source, 74 per cent in Zaporizhzhya and 30 percent in Dnipropetrovsk regions.
“The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric station will lead to the fact that the fields in the south of Ukraine next year can turn into deserts. Without the Kakhovka reservoir, not only farmers and water users will suffer, but also sources of drinking water supply for settlements.”
On Wednesday, authorities responded urgently to the situation caused by a collapsed dam in southern Ukraine.
They began delivering drinking water to the flooded areas while also considering the relocation of thousands of residents who depended on the now-breached reservoir on the Dnieper River, which serves as part of the front line in the ongoing 15-month war.
According to officials, approximately 3,000 people have been evacuated from the flooded areas on both sides of the river, under both Russian and Ukrainian control.
However, the full extent of the disaster is yet to be determined in an affected region that was home to over 60,000 individuals.
The Russian-appointed authorities in the occupied parts of the Kherson region reported that 15,000 homes had been flooded.
Residents in the Russian-occupied areas affected by the flooding expressed frustration over the delayed arrival of assistance.
The Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and reservoir, which are crucial for drinking water and irrigation across a vast area of southern Ukraine, are located in a portion of the Kherson region that has been under Moscow’s control for the past year.
This dam and reservoir are also critical for supplying water to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
The Dnieper River is divided, with Ukraine holding the western bank and Russia controlling the eastern bank, which is at a lower elevation and more susceptible to flooding.
Rising flood water has the potential to erode the current harvest, while the diminished Kakhovka reservoir would hinder sufficient irrigation for future agricultural seasons