Satellite images show Kakhovka dam before and after destruction

Before and after Kakhovka dam
Before and after satellite images of Nova Kakhovka dam [Planet Labs]
Before and after satellite images of Nova Kakhovka dam [Planet Labs]

On Tuesday, footage captured water gushing from the Nova Kakhovka dam in a Russian-controlled area of southern Ukraine.

Images from the scene appeared to show an explosion at the dam, which damaged a large part of its structure. It is unclear what caused the explosion. Ukrainian and Russian officials have accused one another of exploding the dam.

The deluge of water released from the dam has sparked fears of widespread flooding, as local residents are being urged to evacuate the area immediately. About 42,000 people are at risk from flooding around the area.

(Al Jazeera)

The Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro, located about 30km (20 miles) east of Kherson city, stood at 30 metres (98 feet) and 3.2km (2 miles) wide.

It provided water to large parts of southeastern Ukraine in addition to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The dam’s reservoir also supplied water to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to cool its six nuclear reactors.

Before being destroyed, the reservoir contained about 18 cubic kilometres (4.3 cubic miles) of water on average.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi said the plant should have enough water to cool its reactors for “some months” from a pond located above the reservoir of the dam.

Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies have shared satellite images of the dam, showing the scale of damage caused to it.

Drag the slider to the right to compare before and after images of the dam.

Russian-installed authorities declared a state of emergency in annexed parts of the Kherson region following the floods. Russia’s TASS news agency says at least seven people are missing after nearby areas were flooded.

The extent of ecological consequences is yet to be clearly identified, but Ukrainian officials have warned they could be serious. The images below show urban centres around the Nova Kakhovka dam submerged in water.

Ukraine’s agriculture ministry says flooding will affect tens of thousands of hectares in southern Ukraine and could turn at least 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) into “deserts”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the incident an act of “mass environmental destruction”. He however said the alleged attack would not alter Kyiv's plans to retake territory from occupying forces.

The Kremlin blamed Ukraine for the incident, saying Kyiv had destroyed the site to distract attention from its counteroffensive that Moscow claims to have already blunted.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies