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November 16, 2023

Ukraine Dam Disaster


Ukraine Dam Disaster

After the destruction of Kakhovka Dam in southern Ukraine on June 6th, 77 settlements along the Dnipro River were flooded and water contamination from sewage, pollution, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals pose a major health risk. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are without clean drinking water. 

In a region that has experienced intensive violence throughout the Russian invasion, this catastrophic event has compounded already high levels of humanitarian need.

“Everything that I had is now under the water. My home is gone. My life is gone. I do not know how to live now.” – Oksana

Latest Updates

How is World Jewish Relief responding to the Ukraine Dam Disaster?

Thanks to your support for our Ukraine Crisis Appeal we have been able to offer immediate support to our partners. We are closely monitoring the situation and responding to needs.

June 19th: 

Only 13 Ukrainian-controlled settlements in the Kherson region remain flooded, and one in Mykolaiv. 1,800 homes remain flooded, and over 3,000 evacuations have taken place leaving more Ukrainians displaced. Authorities on the Russian controlled Left Bank of the Dnipro River insist all settlements are clear of flooding, but this is unverified due to communication blackouts.

However, water supply is still a major concern, with 210,000 people in the immediate areas surrounding the reservoir without centralised water and in desperate need of a clean water source according to the United Nations. Some people are completely cut off from water, and so we are continuing to provide life-saving water supplies through our local partners operating on the ground.

June 13th:

The priority remains clean drinking water for the hundreds of thousands who relied on the reservoir as a water supply. Our partner Dreamland have been delivering water, food and hygiene equipment to those in Kherson and the town of Antonivka. Our other partners including Blagorob and LDP Dnipro are supplying the Dnipro region with clean drinking water and water filters.

June 9th:

We are working with our local partners to provide essential clean drinking water, food, and evacuation support. Yesterday, with our support, 22 tons of bottled water was sent to hospitals in the Kherson region by our partner Dreamland. To support evacuations, our partner TLU purchased two drones to help find people stranded by the flood waters in rural areas.

The Hesed (local Jewish community centre) has remained in continuous contact with hundreds of vulnerable families and older people that we support across the affected region, including those in 22 hard to reach villages, and is monitoring their needs daily. We will do all that we can to help them over the coming days.

June 7th:

We were in immediate contact with our local partners in the Kherson region. The Hesed (local Jewish community centre) was flooded and is relocating to the synagogue which is higher up. Local humanitarian partners have begun evacuation efforts. One partner told us:

“This is another blow to Southern Ukraine, the consequences of which will last for many years to come. At a local level – all day we are keeping touch with clients, providing moral support. We have planned the distribution of food packages to 200 clients, and craft packages for 75 children. We are working, holding on.”



In the initial aftermath of the crisis, 42,000 Ukrainians were at risk of flooding across 37 towns and villages, and 87 settlements. The Ukrainian government tasked local emergency services with evacuations, prioritising those at greatest risk. However, there are many Ukrainians on the Left Bank of the Dnipro River, under Russian occupation, who are not getting necessary support from emergency services or humanitarian agencies.

In the worst flooded areas, some people were forced to spend the night after the dam disaster in trees or on their roofs. Evacuations have been made more difficult due to uprooted landmines and continued Russian shelling of flood affected areas, injuring and killing civilians. Older people and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable due to their lack of mobility.

There are thousands of Ukrainians who have remained in their homes and survived 15 months of Russian aggression, who have tragically being forced to leave everything behind and evacuate.

As water subsides, we expect there will be long-term issues with food and clean water supply, flooded homes, hygiene and bedding, which we will aim to address. The Kakhovka Dam was a hydroelectric power plant which supplied energy to the surrounding area, and water to hundreds of thousands from its large reservoir. Following the destruction of the dam, many are already facing water and power shortages, and deadly diseases from water contamination. In a region which relies heavily on agriculture, irrigation will be difficult and could result in food shortages. The destruction of the Kakhovka dam is already having devastating humanitarian, ecological, and economic consequences.

The nearby Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station also relies on the reservoir for its cooling system. Local authorities claim the nuclear powerplant has enough water in its reserves for four to six weeks, so there is no immediate threat although it is being closely monitored.

Your support today will enable us to be there for Ukrainians whose lives have been uprooted once again.

Donate to Ukraine Crisis Appeal today