Catastrophic situation, says Zelenskyy as Ukrainians face homelessness, disease risk from flooding

By India Today World Desk: Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have become homeless as they abandoned their flooded homes on Wednesday as floods crested across the south after the destruction of a huge hydroelectric dam on front lines between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Residents in the occupied parts of the Kherson region slogged through flooded streets carrying children on their shoulders, pets in their arms and belongings in plastic bags while rescuers used rubber boats to search areas where the waters reached above head height, reported news agency Reuters.

ALSO READ | Ukraine dam collapse: 42,000 at risk from flooding, several make desperate escape; UN warns of ‘grave consequences’

While the presidents of both countries blame each other for the disaster, Ukraine said the flood would leave hundreds of thousands of people without access to drinking water, swamp tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land and turn at least 500,000 hectares deprived of irrigation into “deserts”.

In yet another video address, Ukrainian President said that it was impossible to predict how many people would die in Russian-occupied areas due to the flooding, urging a “clear and rapid reaction from the world” to support victims.

“The situation in occupied parts of the Kherson region is absolutely catastrophic. The occupiers are simply abandoning people in frightful conditions. No help, without water, left on the roofs of houses in submerged communities,” he said.

ALSO READ | Floodwater engulfs southern Ukraine after dam collapse, residents forced to flee | In pics

Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov visited the city of Kherson downstream from the dam and said 80 settlements had been affected by the disaster, and that the flooding had released chemicals and infectious bacteria into the water.

The Nova Kakhovka dam collapse on Tuesday happened as Ukraine prepares a major counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion, likely the war’s next major phase. Both sides traded blame for continued shelling across the populated flood zone and warned of drifting landmines unearthed by the flooding.

ALSO READ | Ukraine war zone villagers flee floods after massive dam destroyed

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