Jun 7, 2023
A huge dam and water reservoir collapsed on Monday after an explosion. This sent a flood of water through a warzone in southern Ukraine. Tens of thousands had to leave their homes quickly. The flood also put farming lands in the region in danger.
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces blamed each other for destroying the dam.
“Russia has detonated a bomb of mass environmental destruction,” the Ukrainian president tweeted. He said it was the largest man-made disaster in Europe in many years.
Meanwhile, Russia said Ukraine destroyed the dam on purpose. They stated that Ukraine did this to distract people from the fact that Ukraine's attacks against Russia are failing. Over the weekend, Ukrainian forces started attacking Russian soldiers on the war's front lines in southern Ukraine. Ukraine claims it has killed at least 1,500 Russian soldiers. Russia disputes this.
The Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power station were built in the 1950s. They are located along the Dnieper River (also known as the Dnipro). It runs 1,400 miles from Russia through Ukraine to the Black Sea. The dam had been rebuilt after being blown up by the Nazis during World War II.
Russian forces have been in control of the area around the dam for over a year. But, experts say it's hard to know which army caused the damage.
Many had to leave their homes in the city of Kherson as water rushed in. “It’s a nightmare,” a woman named Tetyana repeated over and over while wading in thigh-deep water. She was trying to make it home to rescue her dogs, she told The Associated Press.
Reflect: What impacts can a dam’s collapse have on an area?
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