Thursday briefing: The Kherson dam disaster has left thousands of Ukrainians adrift – and that’s just the start

3 months ago 134

Good morning. Two days aft the demolition of Ukraine’s Nova Kakhovka dam led to wide flooding, it’s wide that we are lone opening to admit the interaction of what happened – and what it could mean for the environment, section agriculture and the course of the war.

At the bosom of this story, however, are the radical who unrecorded downstream connected the Dnipro river, who person already endured months connected the frontline and present find themselves surviving done a idiosyncratic and biology calamity.

The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh is successful Kherson, the biggest metropolis to beryllium affected; helium spoke to maine astir the country connected the crushed and its wider implications. First, the headlines.

Five large stories

  1. UK quality | Boris and Carrie Johnson hosted a adjacent person overnight astatine Chequers erstwhile a fig of Covid restrictions were successful place, the Guardian has been told. Johnson’s spokesperson said the enactment was “entirely lawful” and sources adjacent to him said Maloney was allowed to beryllium determination for childcare reasons astatine a clip erstwhile Carrie Johnson was pregnant.

  2. Immigration | A Guardian probe has recovered that the Home Office has provided much than £3m successful backing to Turkish borderline forces successful the past twelvemonth to forestall migrants reaching the UK. The Home Office has besides supplied Turkish borderline forces, including the nationalist constabulary and the coastguard, with instrumentality and training.

  3. Environment | The United Arab Emirates’s authorities lipid institution has been capable to work emails to and from the Cop28 clime acme office, the Guardian revealed. The UAE is hosting the clime acme successful November and its president, Sultan Al Jaber, is besides main enforcement of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The revelations person been called “explosive” and a “scandal” by lawmakers.

  4. Politics | Woking council, the astir heavy indebted section authorization successful England, has declared it is efficaciously bankrupt aft a risky concern spree involving hotels and skyscrapers by its erstwhile Conservative medication near it facing a £1.2bn deficit.

  5. Media | The Daily and Sunday Telegraph are to beryllium enactment up for sale aft the Barclay household mislaid power of their crown jewel media assets successful a bitter enactment with the paper group’s lender. Potential buyers see DMGT – the proprietor of the Daily Mail, Mail connected Sunday, MailOnline, Metro and the i.

In depth: ‘We don’t cognize what the caller scenery volition look like’

Police evacuate section  residents from a flooded country  aft  the Nova Kakhovka dam breached, successful  Kherson.
Police evacuate section residents from a flooded country aft the Nova Kakhovka dam breached, successful Kherson. Photograph: Reuters

Hundreds of thousands are without drinking water, according to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. As galore arsenic 80 towns and villages and astir 42,000 radical are astatine risk. Landmines person been dislodged and are floating to chartless locations downstream, according to the Red Cross. Meanwhile the first reports of casualties person emerged, with astatine slightest 3 dead.

The demolition of the Nova Kakhovka dam is not confirmed to beryllium Russia’s doing, though Zelenskiy has said helium “does not understand” however anyone could uncertainty it, and immoderate international observers hold (Moscow, for its part, blames Ukrainian “sabotage”). But determination is nary question its interaction has been enormous.

“This is simply a immense crisis,” said Dan Sabbagh, the Guardian’s defence and information editor, who has been reporting from Ukraine since the opening of the conflict, adding that determination is “something elemental” astir the standard of the flooding. “It’s conscionable a monolithic river. We don’t cognize wherever the stream bound volition extremity up. We don’t cognize what the caller scenery volition look like.”

How are radical coping?

The h2o was inactive rising, though much dilatory than before, erstwhile Dan spoke to maine yesterday from cardinal Kherson. He was lasting astatine a crossroads that ordinarily would beryllium hundreds of metres from the riverbank; instead, helium said, the kerb had go “quite a engaged small port” arsenic rescue boats came and went.

For 8 months past year, Kherson was occupied by Russian forces; parts of it person been heavy damaged by shelling and galore radical had already near the metropolis by the clip the floods hit. “Younger radical thin to get retired arsenic accelerated arsenic they can,” said Dan. “The residents who person stayed connected are mostly older, and person constituent blank refused to go.”

For galore of those who remained, though, the flooding has forced them retired of the homes they resolutely refused to quit. As we spoke, Dan described an inflatable dinghy arriving, carrying a pistillate successful her 70s and an older antheral who was incapable to walk, who had been rescued on with “the obligatory dog”. A handbasket of 5 brownish cats had been brought successful a small earlier; successful the inheritance a canine was barking.

“There are a batch of abandoned pets – you spot them everywhere. It’s conscionable a diagnostic of a warfare zone.”

What astir the wider impacts?

A antheral   looks connected  astatine  a flooded country  successful  Kherson, Ukraine, 7 June 2023.
A antheral looks connected astatine a flooded country successful Kherson, Ukraine, 7 June 2023. Photograph: Mykola Tymchenko/EPA

Alongside the thousands of homes and lives casually ruined, determination are warnings of ample standard consequences elsewhere successful the region.

Zelenskiy called the flooding “an biology weaponry of wide destruction”, and Kyiv has said this is Europe’s biggest ecological catastrophe since Chornobyl (also successful Ukraine) successful 1986.

As good arsenic the interaction connected wildlife, the country’s agriculture ministry has warned that the fields of confederate Ukraine could “turn into deserts” by adjacent year, arsenic their irrigation relied connected the now-drained reservoir. The illness of Ukrainian agriculture could besides person a important impact connected the planetary nutrient market.

What happens next?

“The flood h2o is muddy, it’s afloat of detritus and integrated material, it’s got immoderate of that iridescent sheen of lipid connected it,” said Dan. “It’s going done sewage facilities, cemeteries. It is fundamentally unclean. You cognize that it is going to beryllium a smelly, grubby, disgusting messiness erstwhile it comes to cleaning up.”

Overall, helium said, “the bequest of this volition beryllium with america for a agelong time. At this stage, we’ve moved past the archetypal daze into the applicable phase, and lone aboriginal we volition spot each of the impacts and the biology changes. We’re close astatine the opening of this.”

Despite the standard of the floods, however, Dan said we should not underestimate the resilience of the Ukrainian people. Two women successful their 50s oregon 60s, who were watching the rescue efforts, told him they would not permission their apartments, though the crushed level of their artifact was already inundated.

“I person seen this galore times. The determination and resilience of radical present is extraordinary. Those women person nary volition of moving. And successful 1 sense, I americium assured that radical volition get done this.”

What other we’ve been reading

Sky News’s Prince Harry lookalike.
Sky News’s Prince Harry lookalike. Photograph: Sky News
  • Don’t inquire wherefore Sky News hired a Prince Harry lookalike (who looks thing similar him) to work retired bits of his tribunal transcript connected television. Don’t deliberation astir wherefore the histrion is lasting successful the mediate of a studio, speechmaking from a lectern. Instead, Stuart Heritage encourages america to banish each captious reasoning skills erstwhile it comes to this bizarre portion of TV and conscionable strap successful and bask the absurdity. Nimo

  • “This is maine now,” Mary Portas tells Paula Cocozza – nary longer a redhead, it turns out, and not trying to assistance retailers merchantability much worldly either. Instead, she says, we request a caller “kindness economy”. Esther

  • It seems determination is nary a charting azygous nowadays that does not ransack anthems from the 90s and 2000s. Shaad D’Souza asks why truthful fewer pop songs consciousness original, and whether the manufacture is rapidly moving retired of ideas. Nimo

  • Think TV is awesome astatine the minute? Actually, it’s screwed. This gripping, deeply reported portion from Vulture connected the breached economics of the streaming exemplary – described by 1 insider arsenic “the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme” – is good worthy mounting speech immoderate clip for. Esther

  • Sonya Singh takes a look astatine the hospital-based unit involution programmes for victims of gun violence, and however they redirect radical distant from retaliation, and toward the services they request to rebuild their lives. Nimo

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Jude Bellingham celebrates aft  scoring against Borussia Moenchengladbach for Borussia Dortmund.
Jude Bellingham celebrates aft scoring against Borussia Moenchengladbach for Borussia Dortmund. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

Football | Real Madrid have finalised a deal for Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham for €100m (£86m) positive add-ons. Bellingham, 19, volition person a aesculapian earlier sealing the transportation connected a six-year contract.

Football | West Ham won their first large trophy successful 43 years aft beating Fiorentina 2-1 successful the Europa Conference League final. Jarrod Bowen scored the victor successful the 90th minute, sparking chaotic scenes astatine the Eden Arena successful Prague. West Ham’s manager, David Moyes, was delighted to triumph the archetypal large trophy of his career.

Formula One | Two Sky commentators person been suspended after they made a bid of sexist remarks during an on-air post-race investigation of the Spanish Grand Prix connected Sunday. Matteo Bobbi and Davide Valsecchi made sexist comments astir a pistillate successful the background, with Bobbi referring to her arsenic an “upgrade package”, inviting Valsecchi to look down him.

The beforehand pages

Guardian beforehand   page, Thursday 8 June 2023

“Pressure connected Johnson aft friend’s Chequers enactment during Covid curbs” – the Guardian’s people pb today. The Times has “Sunak acceptable to o.k. Johnson’s honours list” portion the Daily Telegraph splashes with “Sunak to archer Biden UK tin pb connected AI”. “Energy firms look lawsuit payouts implicit ‘secret’ fees” says the i, portion the Metro has the header “Harry ‘car tracker’ bombshell”, nether the banner “Prince successful witnesser container time 2”. The Daily Mail is blessed contiguous – “At agelong last! Police are turning up to ALL location burglaries” – and gives itself credit. “Bet Lynch daze … Corrie Julie’s dementia heartache” says the Daily Mirror, and the Sun has that communicative connected leafage 1 arsenic well. Top communicative successful the Financial Times is “US Treasury’s $1tn borrowing spree acceptable to summation strain connected slope system”. “Airport strikes endanger ‘summer of strife’” warns the Daily Express.

Today successful Focus

 Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The demolition of the Kakhovka dam

The UN has blamed the demolition of the Kakhovka dam connected Russia. What interaction volition the flooding person connected the warfare successful Ukraine? Dan Sabbagh reports

Cartoon of the time | Steve Bell

Steve Bell connected  Putin and the illness  of the Nova Kakhovka dam
Illustration: Steve Bell/The Guardian

The Upside

A spot of bully quality to punctual you that the world’s not each bad

The Jain brothers tending to their birds.
The Jain brothers tending to their birds. Photograph: Kamran Yousuf

Brothers Amit and Abhishek Jain have spent the past 5 years rescuing sick and injured birds successful Delhi successful an inaugural that has already saved an estimated 50,000 of them.

The brace poured their ain net into their project, adapting a motorbike into their now-distinctive vertebrate ambulance. It each started with a accidental brushwood successful 2018 connected their regular commute to enactment wherever they saw a helpless vertebrate entangled by its wing, dangling from a branch. After calling the section occurrence service, the vertebrate was yet rescued but they decided they wanted to bash more.

“Initially, it was conscionable the 2 of us, but arsenic connection spread, radical from each walks of beingness joined us,” says Amit. The brothers are besides pushing for amended facilities similar afloat functional avian and carnal hospitals and much nationalist consciousness of the captious relation trees play successful vertebrate habitats.

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