Five people have died and more than 2,600 people — including 160 children — have been evacuated from Ukrainian-controlled flooded areas after the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, according to Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry.
"We are trying to continue evacuation activities, but the enemy is mercilessly shelling," Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Saturday.
In the hardest-hit southern Kherson region, a total of 2,588 people have been rescued from Ukrainian-controlled areas, head of Kherson region military administration Oleksandr Prokudin said earlier on Saturday.
Water levels are receding, dropping 31 centimeters (12.2 inches) since Friday evening, according to Prokudin.
In the Kherson region, 47 settlements were flooded, while in the Mykolaiv region, 31 settlements were flooded, the minister said. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, more than 89,000 customers in 26 settlements have no drinking water supply, Klymenko added.
Environmental concerns: The water level at the Nova Kakhovka reservoir “continues to decline,” Ukrainian Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets said on Saturday.
“As of the morning of June 10, 62% of its volume, or 12.24 cubic kilometers of water, has leaked out of the Kakhovka reservoir,” he said.
He said the water level in Kherson region’s national parks is “critical” and that 30% of the nature reserve and wildlife sanctuaries in the region is “under the threat of extinction.”
Ukraine’s main hydropower generating company Ukrhydroenergo said in a statement Saturday that the water level dropped by 24 centimeters (more than 9 inches) in four hours.
Nuclear plant: The water level in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling pool is “stable,” Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom said on Saturday.
The plant sits in Russian-occupied territory along the Dnipro River.