Humanitarian and ecological tragedy: Russia's explosion of the Kherson Dam has produced apocalyptic visions of residents fleeing rising waters, swans swimming in the center of Nova Kakhovka and farmers fighting to evacuate their livestock from flooded farms.
Yuri Ivanchuk, a resident of a northern suburb of Kherson whose home is near the waterfront, told Israel Hayom: "My house is built on a relatively high escarpment, so the water hasn't reached it yet. But the water is going up and up and we were told it would be like that for the next few days. I'm scared for my home. I'm a pensioner, I can't buy or rent another house, I could lose everything."
Dam explosion: the town of Nova Kakhovka underwater
The rabbi of the Jewish community in Kherson and Chabad's emissary to the city, Yossi Wolf, told an Israel Hayom reporter: "We are in a race against time to help community members. We contacted all the community members who live near the river. Those who needed evacuation have already been evacuated, others are waiting to see what happens. If necessary, we are ready to evacuate and house anyone who needs it."
The rabbi estimated the size of the Jewish population at between 700,<> and <>,<> people, but stressed that he and his people were trying to help the rest of the city's residents as well. "My job is first and foremost to take care of the Jewish community, naturally, but our door is open and we help the rest of the city's residents as much as we can." The Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine announced that it was working to help those affected by the disaster. "The federation is in direct contact with the authorities and with the Jewish communities in Kherson and downriver - in an area that is supposed to be washed away by the dam explosion," the organization said. The federation published a phone book for citizens stranded in the flooded area.
Tens of thousands of refugees and fear of nuclear disaster
Ukrainian authorities estimated that 18,000 homes were in an area flooded as a result of the dam explosion in Nova Kakhovka and announced that a widespread evacuation of civilians from the disaster area had begun. Part of the flooded area is under Russian control, on the southern bank of the Dnipro River, while the northern bank is in the hands of the Ukrainian army. The city of Kherson, the largest metropolis in this region of the Dnipro River, is largely expected to remain above the rising waterfront.
Meanwhile, more than 80 different communities have reported some level of flooding after the dam was blown up and collapsed in the early morning hours. The town of Nova Kakhovka, near the dam, was severely flooded and its center was completely filled with rising river water. A Russian military spokesman was documented in the flooded center of the city, explaining that the dam did not collapse completely and the flooding is much less catastrophic than we thought." Local media reported that the zoo in the town was flooded and all the animals died.
Meanwhile, fears of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plant are growing. The breach of the dam caused a significant decrease in the water reservoir of the plant, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, water used to cool the reactors. Ukrainian MP Kira Rudyk said during a debate on the issue: "We are a step away from a nuclear tragedy. The situation is very dangerous and the world must intervene."
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