At least 600 square kilometers (232 square miles) of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region has been flooded following the Nova Kakhovka dam collapse on Tuesday, according to a regional military commander.
Floodwaters have risen to an average level of 5.61 meters, Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson regional military administration, said in a statement on Telegram.
The collapse of the dam and hydro-electric plant sent torrents of water gushing down the Dnipro River.
The east bank, which sits lower than the west, suffered the worst of the flooding. Of the whole flooded area, 68% was on the east bank and 32% on the west, Prokudin said.
Nearly 2,000 people have now been evacuated from the “danger zone” and were being housed and fed in temporary aid shelters, Prokudin said.
“Despite the extreme danger and constant Russian shelling, evacuations from the flooded area continue,” he said.
“The situation on the eastern bank is extremely difficult. People are suffering not only from the high water, but also from Russian terror and the occupiers’ unwillingness to help people.”
Russian attacks: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Russian forces have been shooting at rescuers trying to reach flooded areas that are under Russian control. “When our forces try to get them [the residents] out, they are shot at by occupiers from a distance,” he told German outlet Bild. A volunteer taking part in the rescue efforts in Kherson told CNN that rescue workers face Russian shelling on nearly every sortie.