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War continues in Kherson as search and rescue operations continue after dam collapse

Local residents stand on an embankment of the Dnipro river, which was flooded after the Nova Kakhovka dam burst as smoke rises after shelling on the opposite bank, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine , in Kherson, Ukraine, on June 6, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Ivan Antitynko)

More than 24 hours after the Nova Kakhovka dam burst, the search and rescue operation in Kherson is still in full swing.

Authorities and volunteers continue to use wooden boats and rubber dinghies to evacuate people – and large numbers of cats and dogs – who became stranded as water levels continued to rise during the night.

They have worked tirelessly since the city began to flood and now, exhausted and overwhelmed, they are just another part of this tragedy.

Those alighting from the boats are visibly shaken by the ordeal, with some bursting into tears when they finally reach dry land. The animals also look distressed. Constant screams and meows echo through the scene as operations continue.

Some areas that were walkable on Tuesday are now completely submerged; in some places the water is up to four meters deep. However, authorities feel that the water level, although continuing to rise, is doing so at a slower rate.

As the humanitarian crisis continues to unfold before our eyes, war is ever-present and Kherson remains a frontline city.

Incoming and outgoing artillery – rockets, mortars, etc. – could be heard at any time of the day on Tuesday, then night and morning on Wednesday.

The shelling appears to have diminished in recent hours, but sporadic gunfire can still be heard in the distance.

However, the Ukrainian government promises that the noise of war will not affect search and rescue operations.

“We have to continue even if the shelling continues, as you can hear,” Acting Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko told reporters at the scene, as artillery fire could be heard in the distance.
“Our people have the necessary protective equipment.”
There is no truce, not even in the midst of tragedy.

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