Office of Press Relations
Thursday, June 8, 2023
For Immediate Release
Statement By Spokesperson Jessica Jennings
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is responding to the humanitarian, environmental, and economic impacts caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine’s Kherson region on June 6. The destruction of the dam has triggered massive flooding and displaced thousands of Ukrainians – compounding the suffering they have faced since the Kremlin began its brutal war against Ukraine more than 15 months ago. More than 80 settlements in southern Ukraine, including areas of Kherson city, are at high risk of flooding, threatening the lives of civilians and disrupting access to drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in the area.
Within hours of the destruction of the dam, USAID mobilized to deliver life-saving assistance to those impacted, in coordination with the Government of Ukraine. USAID partners acted quickly to help those displaced by flooding. In the hours immediately following the breach, USAID partners provided buses to help with evacuations, purchased fuel vouchers for evacuation volunteers who already have buses, and delivered more than 10,000 liters of fuel to support water rescue operations and the distribution of emergency relief. USAID partners have been on the ground in Ukraine responding to humanitarian needs throughout the war, and these preparedness efforts have enabled the quick mobilization of pre-positioned supplies to evacuation points, including hygiene kits, food, safe drinking water, and cash assistance. Teams on the ground are assessing needs and preparing additional response activities.
We are particularly concerned about the disruption of water supplies to surrounding communities in Russia-occupied areas, and the potential public health impacts, especially in Crimea. We are gravely concerned about the reports of people, including police, medical, and rescue personnel, who were wounded today in the city as a result of shelling that occurred during the ongoing evacuation operation. We call on Russia to respond to the urgent needs of those impacted in the areas that it illegally occupies, and to provide safe and unfettered humanitarian access so that assistance can reach those desperately in need.
The destruction of the Kakhovka Dam has had a devastating impact that will be felt far into the future. USAID, as part of a larger U.S. government effort to support Ukraine, will continue to work tirelessly to get people the help they need today, and in the days and weeks ahead.