Ukraine sets up HQs to monitor aftermath of dam breach
Ukraine has blamed Russia of blowing up the dam, but Moscow has denied the claim and has instead blamed it on Ukrainian shelling
Ukraine is setting up headquarters to deal with the aftermath of the Kakhovka dam breach, which has led to massive flooding, with Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko in charge.
As a result of the dam breach on Tuesday, the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant has been totally destroyed and cannot be restored
Water from the reservoir have flooded towns and villages and has also caused problems with the water supply in Kryvyi Rih, Marhanets and Nikopol, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
In a statement on social media platform Telegram late Tuesday, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said: "We appoint the Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko as the head of the work on eliminating the consequences of this terrorist attack."
In addition, a separate emergency response headquarter will be set up, which, according to Shmyhal, will include ministers, their deputies, heads of central executive bodies and representatives of state-owned enterprises.
Ukraine has blamed Russia of blowing up the dam, but Moscow has denied the claim and has instead blamed it on Ukrainian shelling.
Water is surging down the Dnipro river, and is said to pose a catastrophic flooding risk to the city of Kherson, reports the BBC
The Kakhovka dam, downstream from the huge Kakhovka reservoir, is crucial to the region.
It provides water to farmers and residents, as well as to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
It is also a vital channel carrying water south to Russian-occupied Crimea.
Ukraine's state-owned hydropower plants administrator Ukrhydroenergo warned that the peak of a water spill downstream from the emptying reservoir was expected on Wednesday morning.
It said this would be followed by a period of "stabilisation", with the water expected to rapidly recede in four to five days.
There are concerns about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant -- Europe's largest -- which uses reservoir water for cooling.
The situation there is said to be under control and there is "no immediate nuclear safety risk" for the plant, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Meanwhile, Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktoriya Lytvynova told local media that around 40,000 people need to be evacuated -- 17,000 people in Ukraine-controlled territory west of the Dnipro River and 25,000 on the Russian-controlled east.
Also speaking on Ukrainian television, Interior Minister Klymenko said about 1,000 people had been evacuated so far and 24 settlements had been flooded.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has however. assured that the disaster "will not stop Ukraine, we will liberate all our lands".
In his nightly address to the nation, he said: "The disaster at the Kakhovka created by Russian terrorists will not stop Ukraine and Ukrainians. We will still liberate all our land. And every Russian terrorist attack only increases the amount of reparations that Russia will pay for the crimes committed, and not the chances of the occupiers staying on our land."
He also said that authorities "at all levels" are doing everything to save people and provide drinking water to those who used to receive it from the Kakhovka reservoir.