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Statement: Destruction of Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine

June 8, 2023

The Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine was damaged on June 6, and will have long-lasting consequences. The following statement is by Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion's Advocacy Director:

The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine will have long-lasting and reverberating humanitarian consequences.

The uncontrollable flooding of the Dnipro River has already displaced thousands of civilians from their homes. Water supplies are contaminated, resulting in massive pollution from the dumping of garbage, agrochemicals, and other hazardous materials. Wastewater treatment and sewage systems have ceased functioning. Crops have been drowned, and thousands of people are looking for safe shelters.

In addition, the water has moved mines and other unexploded or abandoned ammunition and scattered them across towns and villages, creating an additional danger for the civilian population on the move and humanitarian workers that are assisting them. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine is seeing unprecedented explosive contamination most highly concentrated in the Eastern and Southern parts of Ukraine, including the region around the Nova Kakhovka dam. The extent of the explosive contamination will be known once the water withdraws from the flooded areas. Dislocated landmines will complicate the work of the clearance experts as landmines and other explosive ordnances will become more difficult to locate, neutralize, and destroy. 

HI remains concerned about the harm caused to civilians as a result of the war, parties to the conflict should never use banned weapons, such as landmines or cluster munitions, anytime under any circumstance. We strongly condemn all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.


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