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“Whoever wanted to leave is already gone”

The floods in the Kherson region have triggered a humanitarian crisis in the war zone. Ukrainian rescue workers have evacuated around 2,400 people so far – but many want to stay.

Andrea Beer

The city of Mykolaiv is about 75 kilometers north of Cherson. Here the Inhul flows into the Southern Bug, which in turn flows into the Black Sea. The uncontrolled water masses of the Dnipro hinder this and so the Mykolaiv region is currently the hinterland of the flooding, so to speak. But here, too, roads, paths, fields, entire villages and bridges are flooded.

Water stands more than five meters high

Vlad and Sergei are waist-deep in the water. One has a large package in his arm that he wants to take to the post office. “I don’t know how everyone does it. Not many people stayed back there,” they say, pausing briefly on the partially flooded bridge.

On the third day after the dam burst, the situation in the flooded area is still difficult and unclear in parts. According to the Kherson Regional Military Administration, the water level in the region is slowly sinking again. In the affected flood areas of the region, the water is still about 5.40 meters high on average.

drinking water problem has worsened

The supply of drinking water has long been a problem for the city of Mykolayiv, says Deputy Mayor Vitaji Lukov. The city has been under heavy Russian shelling for months, and missile destruction can be seen around every corner. After the recapture of Cherson, part of the drinking water supply system was in occupied territory, which made supply difficult.

The flooding has now also flooded the already vulnerable pumping station, whose power went out about three weeks ago. Now the city of Mykolaiv has no prospects of repairing the station because everything is flooded, says Deputy Mayor Lukov.

Around 2,400 people were taken away from the shore

Around 2,400 people were evacuated on the Ukrainian-controlled right bank by the afternoon. She and her helpers must continue to expect Russian fire.

According to the regional military administration in the morning, the city of Kherson alone has been attacked 25 times in the last 24 hours with rockets, drones and artillery. Two people were killed and 17 injured, two seriously, across the region.

Many stay and wait

The city of Mykolaiv has prepared to take in up to 1,000 people – but so far only a few have come, explains Deputy Mayor Lukov. Most apparently wanted to stay and wait.

Anyone who wanted to leave is already gone.

Vitaji Lukov, Deputy Mayor of Mykolaiv

According to Ukrainian sources, people are sitting on roofs on the occupied left bank, and hundreds have not had food or drink for days.

Information about dead, missing and injured is different. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry announced in the afternoon that four people had died from the water – 13 people were missing and 11 were injured.

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