First, the facts — The Kakhovka Dam, behind which lies a huge reservoir of 18bn cubic kilometers of water, was breached on June 6. This has resulted in an environmental and human calamity that is grave even by the standards of Russia’s 15-month-old war in Ukraine.
What happened? Reports suggested a huge series of explosions broke the dam and freed an enormous weight of water to move down the Dnipro River. Large areas of Southern Ukraine are now flooding. Nova Kakhovka, near the dam, is under 11 meters (36ft) of water. As many as 80 towns and villages are being evacuated as far as Kherson, more than 50 miles away. As many as 17,000 people are being evacuated. Tracts of inhabited land are becoming swamps.
The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) said the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant which is upriver of the breach, should not be affected.