When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kherson, Where War Survivors Must Now Escape The Flood

The evacuation of residents from flood-affected localities continues after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam. Evacuees report that they have been bombarded by Russian missiles and fear the presence of mines in the water.

Photo of a woman after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovak dam.

A woman is seen during the aftermath of the destruction of the Nova Kakhovak dam.

Yevhen Buderatsky and Yevhen Rudenko and Yana Osadcha

KHERSON — “Finally, dry land...” The words were repeated by multiple evacuees forced to leave their homes over the past 48 hours in the wake of the explosion that destroyed the Nova Kakhovka dam.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

For the residents of Kherson and the surrounding area, the past 15 months have included a Russian occupation, Ukrainian liberation, and frequent artillery shelling. But on Tuesday, they woke up to a different kind of test of their survival skills.

The major breach of the dam flooded the settlements near the Dnipro river, forcing thousands to evacuate. The floodwaters have even submerged the low-lying districts of Kherson, the major city in the area, where levels have been known in the past to rise to the second or third floors of apartment buildings.

But now, the flooding is bound to be both more severe, and more widespread. In certain areas, the only mean of transport is by boat.

Within two days, more than 2,000 people, primarily from the severely affected Ostriv district, were evacuated to dry land.

Amphibious vehicles, police motor boats, ordinary rubber boats of volunteers and residents... Anything that can float is used to get people, their belongings, and pets away from flooded zones.

Water everywhere

Oleg and Serhii are some of the volunteers helping people evacuate. They have traveled to the flooded settlements by following the Dnipro, even as the left bank of the river is occupied by Russia, to save people from rooftops of submerged houses.

From the morning to the evening of June 7, they have ferried 16 residents from Kherson.

"It's quick to get to Kherson, but it's a long way back as we have to ride against the current, " says Oleg. “There is water everywhere now. Only the tops of trees and roofs are visible.”

Rescue teams after the destruction of the dam.


Noah's Ark

Marina Volodymyrivna Gavrilova is one of the evacuees from the hard-hit district of Kherson. The pensioner steps on dry land with her dachshund Virgie and a cigarette in her hand.

"By the way, have we won yet?,” she asks when she gets off the boat. “I’ve been without the radio for two days.”

I realized that I could be trapped forever.

Gavrilova lost her eyesight a few years ago. She found out about the Nova Kakhovka dam breach from the news. As she was walking Virgie outside on the evening of June 6, she felt that the water was already reaching her apartment.

"By the morning the water was already at my door," she says. "I realized that I could be trapped forever."

She refused to evacuate at first, shouting from her balcony on the fourth floor that she had ten cats besides her dog Virgie and that she could not leave them behind.

"Once they promised me they would come back with cat carriers, I agreed to leave," Gavrilova says.

According to the police, hundreds of animals have been evacuated, and the events along the Dnipro are compared to the biblical story of Noah’s Ark.

Aftermath of the destruction of Nova Kakhovak dam.


Plans to return

Inna Moroz was evacuated to the non-flooded part of Kherson only on the morning of June 7.

"The rescuers give people 30 to 40 minutes to get ready. People bring their animals and get into the boats. But some choose to stay," says Inna.

The experience of sailing the Dnipro was frightening for her.

"We were sailing over a three-meter-high fence. We were also very afraid that there would be mines in the water," she says.

Despite losing her home to the flood, Inna Moroz is not planning on leaving Kherson.

"I'm not going anywhere. I have already spent 9 months in Poland, my children are there now, but I am here. Because who will rebuild Ostriv if not us?," she says, referring to the flooded Kherson district she was evacuated from. "Who will clean up the dirt when the water recedes?"

She is not the only one planning on staying in the city.

Kherson resident Olga Tsylinko helps rehabilitate children with disabilities. She lost her house to the flood but prefers to stay at a local rehabilitation center, to wait for families with children with disabilities to arrive.

“When we fled yesterday, the Russians were still shelling us. Today they also shelled Kherson, they do it every day," says Olga.

Thousands have been evacuated from the affected areas, but the scope of the disaster is still unclear.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia And Belarus Are Cracking Down On Exiles — And A Passport Fix To Fight Back

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is making it impossible for citizens who've fled the country to renew their passports, which will may make some effectively stateless. What are some possible solutions?

Photo of a customs official stamping a passport in Minsk, Belarus

Stamping passports in Minsk, Belarus

Boris Gorozovsky

Under strict new measures introduced by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, foreign embassies may no longer issue documents to Belarusians. This will make it impossible for Belarusians outside of the country to renew passports unless they return — which could lead to criminal prosecution for some who fled after the 2020 protests.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Russia, on the other hand, has adopted a different approach to encourage the return of its citizens abroad. After considering a 30% tax on emigrants' income, they settled on a 13% personal income tax rate.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest