Streets transformed into rivers where swans swim, houses that float carried away by the current, flooded houses... These images and videos have multiplied since the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in the Kherson region early in the morning of Tuesday, June 6. According to the Ukrainian authorities, the water level has risen by 3.5 meters, more than 17,000 people have been evacuated and 24 villages are under water.
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Shocked, dozens of residents of this region of southern Ukraine, occupied by Russia, testify to the damage of this disaster. In this video shot in the administrative center of the city of Nova Kakhovka, where the dam is located, swans swim on the forecourt of the Palace of Culture.
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Same observation in Solontsi, in the Kherson oblast, where the city became "a part of the Dnieper River", thirty-six hours after the dam burst, reports an OSINT analyst (open source) on Twitter. To circulate in the streets of the city, it is now necessary to equip yourself with a boat or a boat.
Civilians taken by surprise
An explosion caused a large opening of the dam of the hydroelectric plant, one of the most important energy facilities in the country, located on the outskirts of the city of Nova Kakhovka. The plant held back 18 billion cubic meters of water, much of which still spills over entire villages. Shortly after the detonation, a wave of several meters gradually destroyed what was in its path until reaching the Dnieper Delta and then the Black Sea.
Among the victims of this disaster, the vast majority of civilians were surprised by this wave. On its Twitter account, the Ukrainian Red Cross quickly published a video. It depicts a rescue team evacuating residents trapped in their flooded homes. "80 localities are threatened with flooding. 800 people have already been evacuated, including 66 with reduced mobility," the humanitarian association wrote on Tuesday, June 6.
On Wednesday 7 June, police are also evacuating elderly and vulnerable people who cannot move using rubber boats. This is particularly the case in the city of Kherson, which is largely under water.
Police evacuate residents from a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023. STRINGER / REUTERS
A Ukrainian soldier helps residents evacuate a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023. ALEKSEY FILIPPOV / AFP
Several individuals were also photographed walking the streets in swimsuits or underwear.
A resident walks down a flooded street in Kherson, June 6, 2023. STRINGER / REUTERS
On Twitter, residents massively shared videos of animals in distress, trapped underwater. For example, the zoo in the city of Nova Kakhovka was completely flooded. Many animals drowned.
In other images, we can see dead animals floating among petroleum products, suggesting serious environmental consequences.
Other videos show Ukrainians rescuing dogs on the verge of drowning because they are exhausted from struggling to survive.
President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to these rescuers. He took the opportunity to denounce the "inhumanity" of this catastrophe, which he blames on the Russian camp: "While Russian evil terrorizes and destroys all living beings, we are doing and will continue to do everything to save every living creature!»
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Wild animals were also seen in the streets, as if nature was reclaiming its rights over the city. Beavers, for example, were filmed in Kherson. The video has been viewed more than 1.8 million times on Twitter.