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World Bank to assess damage after Ukraine dam destruction

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By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The World Bank will support Ukraine by conducting a rapid assessment of damage and needs after Tuesday’s destruction of a huge hydroelectric dam on the front lines between Russian and Ukrainian forces, a top bank official said on Wednesday.

Anna Bjerde, the World Bank’s managing director for operations, said on Twitter the destruction of the Novo Kakhovka dam had “many very serious consequences for essential service delivery and the broader environment.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, also writing on Twitter, said he spoke with Bjerde about the impact of the dam’s collapse, and she assured him the World Bank would carry out a rapid assessment of the damage and needs.

Ukrainians abandoned inundated homes on Wednesday as floods crested across the south after the destruction of the dam, with Russia and Ukraine trading blame for the disaster.

Ukraine said the deluge would leave hundreds of thousands of people without access to drinking water, swamp tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land and turn at least 500,000 hectares deprived of irrigation into “deserts”.

Bjerde said the new damage assessment would build on the bank’s previous analysis of damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure and buildings, which estimated that it would cost $411 billion to rebuild Ukraine’s economy after Russia’s invasion.

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said it is “very concerned” about the social, economic and environmental impact from the destruction of the dam.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)

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