Souce: Planet Labs PBC/BBC. This image shows a large riverside section of the city of Kherson now underwater.

By Editor-June 9th, 2023.

About 600 square kilometres, or 230 square miles, of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine was under water on Thursday following the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, the regional governor said, reports the Reuters News Agency.

Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said 68% of the flooded territory was on the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro River. The “average level of flooding” in the Kherson region on Thursday morning was 5.61 metres (18.41 ft), he said.

Rising water levels were expected to peak in Kherson late on Wednesday, but officials fear a catastrophic impact on agriculture as the vast Kakhovka reservoir – upstream of the dam – empties into the Black Sea.

Kherson’s regional head Oleksandr Prokudin said 1,700 have so far been evacuated while Kremlin-installed officials on the other side of the river say 1,200 people have been taken to safety.

Officials say more than 40,000 people – 17,000 in Ukraine-held territory west of the Dnipro and 25,000 in the Russian-occupied east – need to leave.

Unicef’s Damian Rance said the charity has seen homes completely destroyed as concerns continue to linger around trapped residents.

“Safe water has been impacted in many of these locations as the water supply obviously came from the reservoir there, as has the electricity supplies that have been cut off.”

President Zelensky said earlier on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of people across the Kherson region were without drinking water.

Both sides blame each other for the destruction of the dam.

Ukraine says it was mined by Russian forces, and accuses Russia of doing little to help people in flooded areas of the Russian-occupied east bank of the river.