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Over 1,500 people evacuated from flooded Kherson areas after Ukraine's Kakhovka Dam collapse
Kyiv: More than 1,500 people have been evacuated from flooded areas of the Kherson region in Ukraine after the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam, CNN reported.
CNN Digital is the world leader in online news and information and seeks to inform, engage and empower the world. By 11.30 a.m. (local time), 1,548 individuals had been evacuated from Ukrainian-controlled flooded parts of the Kherson region, according to the State Emergency Services and National Police of Ukraine.
There are worries about an ecological disaster following the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power plant on Tuesday in Ukraine.
According to authorities, "20 settlements on the west bank of the Dnipro River and more than 1,900 houses were flooded in the Kherson region", CNN reported.
The "Bohun" all-terrain vehicle, which can travel easily over water and mud, was one among the pieces of equipment utilised in the rescue operation, which comprised 1,700 employees, 300 pieces of equipment, and 33 water boats, according to CNN.
It is unclear if the dam was deliberately attacked, or if the rupture was caused by structural collapse since Kyiv and Moscow have traditionally swapped blame.
A Nova Kakhovka dam and hydro-electric power plant in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine collapsed early Tuesday, prompting mass evacuations and fears for large-scale devastation as Ukraine accused Moscow's forces of committing an act of "ecocide", CNN reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, stated that Russia bears "criminal liability," and that Ukrainian prosecutors are examining the dam tragedy as an "ecocide".
Residents downstream from the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River in Kherson were told to "do everything you can to save your life", according to the head of Ukraine's Kherson region military administration.
The critical Nova Kakhovka dam is the largest reservoir in Ukraine in terms of volume. It's the last of the cascade of six Soviet-era dams on the Dnipro River, a major waterway running through southeastern Ukraine. There are multiple towns and cities downstream, including Kherson, a city of some 300,000 people, before Moscow's invasion of its neighbour, CNN reported.
The Ukrainian military intelligence said an explosion occurred at 2:50 am (local time) on Tuesday, when "Russian terrorists carried out an internal explosion of the structures of the Kakhovka hydro-electric power plant."
The Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontiev, initially denied the dam had collapsed in an interview with Russian state media RIA Novosti, calling it "nonsense." He later confirmed the destruction of parts of the dam in what he called "a serious terrorist act" but said there was "no need to evacuate."
The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected the accusations. In his regular call with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed the attack was "planned and carried out by order received from Kyiv, from the Kyiv regime," aiming to "deprive Crimea of water".
The area around the dam has been one of the most heavily contested since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Kherson, which sits on the right bank of the Dnipro River, was liberated by the Ukrainian military in November after eight months of Russian occupation. Russian forces, however, still control much of the left bank of the river south of the Kakhovka dam. The front line now runs alongside the river and through the reservoir, and the area has been under heavy fire for months. (ANI)