“100 days since the disaster, people are struggling with water shortages, they have unsafe drinking water and desperately need their damaged homes repaired. Many are also worried about a return to the dark days of blackouts and no heat this winter following the energy infrastructure attacks that were so prevalent last year,” said Cristina Falconi, Area Manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Ukraine.
The dam was breached in the early hours of 6 June causing extensive flooding, water shortages, drought and widespread environmental damage to several regions close to the Dnipro river including Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.
The government of Ukraine along with civil society groups, national and international humanitarian organisations, are working to establish long-term solutions for water pipelines and repairs of homes. While there have been some initial results, the rehabilitation of pipelines is a complex operation particularly in areas close to active hostilities. This means civilians living in villages could end up facing winter without water and warmth.
The fear of displacement is also a reality for some families. Many will choose to leave their damaged homes over the winter, but many elderly residents will choose to remain despite the risks: "I stayed here when the war began. I stayed here when the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was seized. I will not leave, not even now,” said Lyudmila, 59, from Nikopol.
“We must ensure that vulnerable populations are not left living in freezing cold, damp-ridden homes and that they do not fall unnecessarily into ill-health. We need continued coordinated efforts to ensure the basic needs of affected communities are met this winter and that they are not forgotten,” said Falconi.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of already vulnerable civilians and civilian infrastructure throughout this war.
Notes to editors:
- Thursday 14 September (tomorrow) marks 100 days since the Kakhovka dam disaster.
- According to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, 700,000 people were cut off from their water supply.
- Up to 3,000 people were forced from their homes as of June 2023, moving mainly to Kherson city and region. Many returned after the flooding subsided but found themselves without access to drinking water.
- In the aftermath of the explosion NRC initiated an emergency response and distributed 120 tonnes of bottled drinking water to 24,000 people across the Myrivka community (Dnipropetrovsk Region), Novooleksandrivka, Kushuhum and Bilenke communities (Zaporizhzhia region).
- NRC also supported its partner Caritas Kryvyi Ryg in the delivery of 400 construction kits in Kherson and provided 25.4 tonnes of bottled drinking water in Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson regions.
- Meanwhile, NRC’s Southern Ukraine office distributed 90 tonnes of bottled drinking water to 9,045 people in Snihurivka hromada, in Mykolaiv oblast who lost access to water due to the explosion.
- Photos are available for free use here.
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