The death toll resulting from the dam destruction on the Dnieper River is increasing, while the water levels in the flooded areas are receding.
Russian rescuers have discovered the body of an 84-year-old woman in the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, which was flooded after the Kakhovka dam was destroyed. This information was reported by Russian media today. The blame for the dam destruction is being placed on each other by Kiev and Moscow. According to the AP’s report on Thursday, at least 14 people have lost their lives due to the flooding caused by the breach of the Kakhovka dam. The initial death toll was based on the figure of five casualties in the Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka on the left bank of the Dnieper. Russian rescue workers are operating in the area as part of the occupying forces.
An unnamed rescuer was quoted by the Russian state news agency TASS as saying, “During the rescue operation, we found the body of a woman born in 1939. She is the eighth victim.” Russian authorities also included two individuals in the death toll, claiming that they lost their lives due to Ukrainian shelling in the area. However, these claims cannot be independently verified given the conditions of war.
Moscow alleges that the destruction of the dam was caused by Ukrainian rocket-propelled grenades fired at the dam. However, both Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov have recently started suggesting that the dam blew up due to Ukrainian sabotage. On the other hand, Kiev claims that the dam was destroyed by Russian soldiers.
The Kakhovka dam, a massive structure, broke on Tuesday morning, resulting in widespread flooding in the lower reaches of the Dnieper. The disaster has compelled the authorities in the occupied Kherson region, both Ukrainian and Russian-installed, to evacuate residents. The blame game between Kiev and Moscow continues over the destruction of the dam. The AP published drone footage over the Kakhovka dam on the day after its destruction, which contradicted the Russian version of a Ukrainian attack from above. Due to the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, thousands of people have been displaced, and tens of thousands are without access to clean drinking water. The floods have devastated agricultural crops, swept away mines, and caused extensive environmental damage.
As of this morning, the water level at Nikopol indicates a drop to 11.74 meters in the Kakhovka dam. This represents a decrease of one meter in the past 24 hours. Overall, the level has dropped by 4.7 meters in three days, as reported by the Ukrainian news agency Unian, citing Ukrhidroenerho, the company responsible for operating hydroelectric power plants. Other dams along the Dnieper River are attempting to store as much water as possible to ensure a summer water supply once the Kakhovka dam becomes completely inoperative, according to the company.
In the flooded area, the water receded by 20 centimeters overnight, and evacuations of people and animals are still ongoing, as stated by Oleksandr Prokudin, head of Ukraine’s regional administration. In Kherson itself, which is downstream of the Dnieper dam, the water level currently stands at 5.35 meters. The flooding has affected 3,624 homes and 32 villages in Kherson Oblast. Prokudin emphasized that time is of the essence, stating, “The only thing we lack is time. Twenty-four hours a day is not enough to solve all the problems.”