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Humanitarian response Kakhovka 3-min © Action contre la Faim



Two months after the collapse of the Kakhovka dam: a lasting impact on communities and livelihoods

Few hours after the burst of the dam, Action contre la Faim, local authorities and humanitarian partners, provided assistance to the victims. 


A humanitarian and ecological disaster


The Nova Khakovka dam collapse had devastating consequences both upstream and downstream in the Zaporizhiya and Mykolaiv oblasts.

Upstream, the artificial basin served as the primary water source for numerous settlements, supplying water to nearly 1 million people. The collapse left these communities without access to water.

Downstream, the flood wreaked havoc on houses, public buildings, and agricultural lands. The collapse destroyed crops in vast agricultural areas, leading to a major ecological disaster. The contamination by wastewater, carrying explosive remnants of war, and by chemicals has severely impacted over half a million hectares of land, designated as nationally or internationally important natural reserves.

The destruction of the reservoir poses a significant threat to water availability for irrigating farmland, potentially leading to serious repercussions for farmers’ activities and food production. This disaster reinforces the vulnerability of local populations whose living conditions had already deteriorated sharply as a result of the ongoing war” stated Philip Oldham, ACF’s Field Coordinator in the Mykolaiv oblast.

Pavlo Bohuslavets for Solidarités International-min
Pavlo Bohuslavets pour Solidarités International
Pavlo Bohuslavets for Solidarités International-min
Pavlo Bohuslavets pour Solidarités International

The Kakhovka Reservoir used to supply water for nearly 6,000 square km of agricultural fields, producing up to 2 million tons of grain annually. Without sustainable solutions for irrigation, many rural communities dependent on agriculture could face further displacement.


Action Against Hunger’s humanitarian response


In response to the critical situation caused by flooding and internal displacement in Vasilevska, Mykolaiv oblast, Action contre la Faim collaborated with the Ukrainian association World to Ukrainian to provide essential assistance to those affected. Over the course of two weeks, they distributed daily hot meals to people in the area who were trying to clean out their homes.

Nearly 300 individuals visited the mobile kitchen each day to collect meals, while an additional 200 meals were delivered to nearby villages also impacted by the disaster.

In coordination with humanitarian partners specialized in water, sanitation and hygiene and with the local water management authorities (Vodokanal), Action contre la Faim provided an emergency supply of 26,000 water bottles to address the immediate needs of the 50,000 inhabitants of Pokrov, located 80 kilometres West of Zaporizhzhia and 25 kilometres North-West of Nikopol.

To tackle the issue of contaminated water in the area due to the flooding, Action contre la Faim supplied a significant amount of sodium hypochlorite and activated carbon to help reactivate the Pokrov drinking water treatment plant. An essential move to ensure that residents had access to safe drinking water.

In addition, Action contre la Faim also donated numerous water tanks and tap stands to support the municipality in distributing drinking water in areas where the regular water supply had not yet been fully restored.

By the end of their operations in August 2023, Action contre la Faim will have distributed 95,500 bottles of water, totaling 573,000 liters, and benefiting 52,000 individuals. Furthermore, once the Pokrov drinking water treatment plant becomes operational, an additional 50,000 people will have access to clean drinking water.

ACF’s efforts to respond to the humanitarian emergency extend beyond Pokrov, as the field teams continue to provide drinking water distribution in Pershotravneve, Novoivanivka, Chkalove, Vesele, and Loshkarivka towns.

In Ukraine, 11 million people need assistance with water, sanitation and hygiene. These include people directly affected by hostilities or internally displaced in collective centers and host communities. 

Action contre la Faim continues to provide water, sanitation and hygiene assistance in the oblasts of Chernivtsi, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia. This work is of crucial importance as access to clean water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene practices is essential for the health and human dignity of those affected by this war,” said Anne Garella, Regional Director of Operations at Action Against Hunger. 

It is imperative that all parties to the conflict respect the principles of international humanitarian law, which specifically protects dams and other critical infrastructures, because of the dangers their destruction poses to the protection of civilian populations. Furthermore, major access constraints remain in the areas most affected by the conflict. We call on the belligerent forces to facilitate humanitarian operations in these areas close to the front line“, she added.


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