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News > Ukraine

Ukraine Flooding Cause 3 Deaths, Hundreds Evacuated

  • In the region of Chernivtsi 28 homes were flooded after a river dam collapsed

    In the region of Chernivtsi 28 homes were flooded after a river dam collapsed | Photo: AFP/Yuriy Kryvenko

Published 24 June 2020
Opinion

The country has not seen a natural disaster of such proportions in 12 years.

Ukrainian authorities Wednesday said that torrential rains had killed three people and forced hundreds to leave their homes in the western regions.

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Estimates that 800 people have been evacuated since the rain started pouring on Monday as 5,000 houses in 187 villages remained flooded.

After downpours started on June 22, the interior minister reported that water in mountain rivers had risen by two meters. Next day meteorologists warned of hazardous weather conditions for the regions of Ivano-Frankivsk; Chernivtsi and Lviv.

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said that the situation in five regions is critical, and the Ivano-Frankivsk region suffered most. "The last such flood was in 2008," added.

In the Ivano-Frankivsk region, 29 villages were cut off from transport infrastructure since water flooded roads with mud and debris, according to the State Emergency Service.

Likewise, in the region of Chernivtsi, 28 homes were flooded after a river dam collapsed. However, 13 people were rescued.

During an address to the nation today, Ukraine's president Volodímir Zelenski said that his government "will solve the housing issue: either rebuild the destroyed one or find a new one."

"Hundreds of rescuers, National Guardsmen, and police officers are currently involved in the operation. Food, water, and necessities have been delivered to the people," Zelenski confirmed.

Although heavy rains and flooding are not uncommon in the mountainous Carpathian region, scientists have warned that the intensity and frequency of those natural disasters are a consequence of climate change that has severely affected Ukraine.

According to figures released in early January 2020 by Ukraine's Central Geophysical Observatory, 2019 was the warmest year on record in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. The yearly average temperature was as much as 2.9 degrees Celsius higher than historical averages, while every single month was warmer than usual.

A recent study predicted that by the end of the twenty-first century, more than one million hectares of southern Ukraine might be lost to floods. This figure included two hundred thousand hectares of agricultural lands as well as the partial flooding of major cities such as Odesa and Mariupol.  

  

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