Ukrainians cursed Russia and voiced fears for the future Tuesday, June 6, as water from the breached Kakhovka dam partially flooded the southern city of Kherson, threatening their homes.

The dam's destruction has sparked a wave of evacuations with 17,000 already forced to leave their homes.

Standing with neighbours beside the swollen Dnipro River, which flows down from the dam into the city, Iryna has been forced to leave home.

"Now we're without electricity, without gas, without (tap) water," 52-year-old Iryna said through tears. Just one example of the ordinary, daily life now devastated, she said. "Our vegetable plots are inundated."

And as Iryna and her neighbours watched the flood levels rise and the damage to their homes and livelihoods, they were anxious of further fallout, asking what will happen next.


"We are afraid of what will happen this evening. We are afraid that there will be a major disaster."

How the war will develop and what it will mean for them is a question Kherson residents have asked time and again.

The city was occupied by Russian troops from March to November last year, until it was liberated by Ukraine. It has since come under heavy shelling.

"We spent nine months under occupation, and now we have been flooded by the bloody occupiers," Iryna said.

- 'Hate and rage' -

Like Iryna, 56-year-old nurse Svitlana blamed Russian forces for the flooding in the city.

The flooding was a "disgraceful" act by Russians, Svitlana said, adding she feels "even more hate, even more rage" now.

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Whether it will be possible to return home -- how permanent the damage is -- is a pressing concern.

"We will have problems when all this water retreats," she said.

"How will all this get restored? How will it function? How will we live here? I don't understand."

One man who spoke to AFP, Sergiy, gave a bleak assessment. "Everything is going to die here," he said.

"All the living creatures and people will be flooded out."

As muddy water lapped roads and covered an embankment area on the riverbank people packed up their possessions in preparation for evacuation.


Standing outside her house next to a trailer containing her belongings and a washing machine, Lyudmyla said she feared further flooding. "We're taking our things a bit higher up," she said.

Clutching her mobile phone, she said Russian forces should be "kicked out of here... they're shooting at us."

She said the Russians were either "flooding us or doing something else."

Some stood staring at the brown water from a road bridge and railway line -- places high enough for now to safely evaluate the extent to which the water had risen.

"It's about three metres (higher) for sure," said Kostyantin.

"The flood is coming. You can really see it in front of your eyes," said Kherson resident Viktor.

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