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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy visits flood-hit areas after Kakhovka dam collapse

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KYIV (Reuters) -Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the flooded southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv on Thursday to discuss emergency operations after flooding caused by the destruction of a huge dam.

Moscow, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and Kyiv blamed each other for the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station and dam on Tuesday, which unleashed flood water from the Dnipro River.

“Many important issues were discussed. The operational situation in the region as a result of the disaster, evacuation of the population from potential flood zones, elimination of the emergency caused by the dam explosion, organization of life support for the flooded areas,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app under video footage of his visit.

“Also, the prospects for restoring the region’s ecosystem and the operational military situation in the man-made disaster area.”

In separate posts, also accompanied by video footage, the president said he had visited a Kherson road crossing where people were being evacuated and a pumping station on the Inhulets River in Mykolaiv that had been flooded.

Kherson lies on the Dnipro, about 60 km (37 miles) downstream from the Kakhovka dam, and Mykolaiv is about 70 km (43 miles) northwest of Kherson.

Kherson’s governor had said earlier on Thursday that 600 square kilometres, or 230 square miles, of the region was under water – most of it on the Russian-occupied side of the river – and that nearly 2,000 people had already left affected areas.

“It is important to calculate the damage and allocate funds to compensate residents affected by the disaster and develop a program to compensate for losses or relocate businesses within the Kherson region,” Zelenskiy said.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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