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13 Jun. 2023

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Consequences of the Kakhovka Dam explosion: what diseases threaten Ukraine and the world

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Consequences of the Kakhovka Dam explosion: what diseases threaten Ukraine and the world

As a result of the russian terrorist attack on the Kakhovka Dam, water not only flooded entire cities, but also spread many deadly substances across southern Ukraine. Find out what environmentalists and doctors say about the risks of an infectious disease outbreak

Get involved in an urgent fundraiser to help the injured animals of Kherson region
Get involved in an urgent fundraiser to help the injured animals of Kherson region
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The water level in the flooded areas of Ukraine is gradually decreasing, but hundreds of square kilometers remain underwater. The global catastrophe caused by the russian federation not only threatens the lives of people and animals trapped in the water in southern Ukraine, but will also have serious environmental consequences for the entire world. In addition, doctors and ecologists emphasize the biological danger posed by the explosion of the Kakhovka Dam. After all, the water contains many hazardous substances that can cause not only outbreaks of intestinal infections, but also botulism, hepatitis, cholera, and even anthrax.


Intestinal infections, hepatitis and cholera


The southern regions of Ukraine have always been considered potentially favorable for the spread of acute intestinal infections and cholera due to the warm, humid climate and high groundwater table. However, the risk of disease has now increased hundreds of times. Dozens of cemeteries, filtration fields, landfills, cesspools and sewage pits, fields treated with nitrate fertilizers, and farms with livestock that could not be saved are underwater. A separate threat is the massive fish kill at the bottom of the Kakhovka Reservoir. In addition, the flooding has led to problems with drinking water in southern Ukraine, as wastewater is mixed with drinking water sources and water treatment systems are not working.


We wrote here about why putin ordered to blow up the Kakhovka Dam.


As of today, almost 90 observation groups have been assembled to take samples and monitor water quality in Kherson and Mykolaiv regions. And unfortunately, the first deviations have already been recorded, in particular in the Ingulets River in Mykolaiv Oblast. The water contains a significant excess of the permissible level of suspended solids, as well as elevated levels of ammonium nitrogen, nitrite, chloride, and iron, which indicates that wastewater is entering the river.


Experts emphasize the prohibition of eating fish in flooded areas, as well as the need for thorough washing and heat treatment of all food products. In addition, only bottled water should be consumed.


Threat of anthrax outbreak


According to experts, anthrax is the most serious threat today. The fact is that on the left bank of the Dnipro River, between the villages of Korsunka and Dnipriany, there is a 50-70-year-old cattle cemetery where cattle with anthrax were buried. And now the whole area is underwater.


For many years, this area has been under constant monitoring by specialists who took the upper layers of soil for sampling, but now the water can erode deeper layers of soil, which poses a real threat of anthrax spores entering the Dnipro and the Black Sea.


As of now, the authorities have not commented on the threat of an outbreak of the terrible bacteriological infection.




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Danger to the Black Sea and territorial waters


Residents of coastal areas are urged not only not to swim in the sea and rivers, but also not to visit the coastline, because in addition to garbage, explosive objects washed up on the shore from the first line of russian defense and minefields.


In addition, in Odesa, people are reporting not only garbage, furniture and appliances, but also parts of metal structures and entire houses that were washed ashore after the dam was blown up.


Desalination and hazardous substances in the water pose a separate environmental threat to the territorial waters, which could lead to a massive death toll of fish and other marine life.


What to do and how to help?


The full extent of the disaster will become clear when the high water recedes. At the moment, southern Ukraine is in the greatest need of bottled drinking water and long-life food. We wrote about organizations that can help the victims of the Kherson region here.

Special attention should be paid to the rescue of animals in the flooded areas, as they are in a deadly trap and cannot escape on their own. The Visit Ukraine team has launched an urgent fundraiser to help animals in the Kherson region. You can join in the rescue of our defenseless little friends by following the link.

In addition, experts emphasize the need to provide the local population with high-quality technical water, as the use of contaminated water, even for domestic purposes, can lead to the ingestion of hazardous substances and infections.

There is a lot of work to be done, including cleaning all sources of drinking water and wells, as well as inspecting and disinfecting other water bodies. The situation is complicated by the occupation of the left-bank Kherson region, as russian troops do not allow either rescuers or volunteers to enter the territory. There have been repeated reports of extortion by the occupiers and travel bans for local people trying to escape on their own. In addition, russia is constantly shelling the flooded areas, hindering the rescue operation. As of today, there are already reports of deaths and dozens of injuries as a result of shelling during the evacuation.

Despite the extremely difficult situation, Ukraine continues to hold on and do everything possible to save lives of people and animals, mitigate environmental threats and save the cultural and historical heritage of the state in the flooded areas.

We remind you! According to Ukrhydroenergo, Kakhovka Dam is completely destroyed and cannot be restored. But what do experts say? Read more about the history of the reservoir and what the future holds for the dam in our previous article.


Photo: Getty Images




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