Escaping the floods on Ukraine's Dnipro
Following the breach of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, thousands of residents affected by the flooding are struggling to cope with the masses of water. Despite the destruction, warfare continues in the area.
Facing the flood
Since June 6, those who remain in the southern Ukrainian conflict region of Kherson have been struggling with another existential threat to their homeland. After a partial collapse of the Kakhovka dam, the Dnipro River, the natural front line between Ukrainian- and Russian-controlled territories, burst its banks creating floodwaters several meters high. More than 40,000 people have been affected.
Dam wall breached
An aerial view taken on June 6 shows the dam breach at the power plant wall. Ukraine and Russia continue to trade blame for the dam's destruction. The inhabitants of nearby towns and villages were totally unprepared for the masses of water and mud that were unleashed by the dam break.
The level of the Dnipro rose up to 12 meters (some 40 feet) after the dam burst, submerging more than 600 square kilometers (230 square miles) of land. The area most affected by the floods is in Ukraine's southern, Russian-occupied region, with the town of Oleshky hit particularly hard. According to Russian sources, some 4,300 people have been rescued, while more than 14,000 homes were flooded.
Saving what can be saved
This woman from Kherson managed to pull two boxes of personal belongings from her flooded home. Thousands of residents are trying to rescue their belongings from the floodwaters. Many, however, could only save themselves and had to leave everything behind during the evacuation.
Evacuations under fire
In the front-line city of Kherson, located on the northern bank of the river, soldiers and volunteers are helping to evacuate people from the flooded areas. The operations are dangerous, with artillery shells repeatedly fired from the Russian-occupied side of the river.
Grateful for the rescue
Many rescue workers have been shown great gratitude for their efforts. Elderly people who were still living in the recaptured city of Kherson are particularly in need of help during the floods. Here, a Ukrainian woman gives her rescuer a kiss on the cheek.
Pets also saved
Animals left in flooded areas are also being evacuated. Volunteers have been plucking dogs, cats and other pets from the floodwaters and bringing them to safe places.
Other wildlife hasn't been so lucky. For this beehive — painted in the Ukrainian national colors — any help will probably come too late.
Masses of dead fish
The falling level of the Dnipro River above the destroyed dam has resulted in the deaths of thousands of fish in the drained reservoir. The flooding below the dam has also released many pollutants from industrial and agricultural facilities, potentially triggering an enormous environmental disaster.
Cultural heritage under threat
The sight of a flooded church in the town of Hola Prystan, in the Russian-controlled Kherson region, is representative of the damage to cultural heritage in the region. According to initial reports from the Ukrainian Culture Ministry, the dam burst has damaged or completely destroyed more than 20 museums and cultural sites in the region.