United Nations: The UN’s top aid official warned on Friday that the humanitarian situation in Ukraine is “dramatically worse” than it was before the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam.
USG Martin Griffiths He said an “extraordinary” 700,000 people are in need of drinking water and warned that the ravages of flooding in one of the world’s most important breadbaskets will inevitably lead to a decline in grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less food for millions. need
“This is a viral problem,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. But the truth is, this is only the beginning to see the consequences of this action.”
The collapse of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and the emptying of its reservoir on the Dnieper River on Wednesday added to the misery in a region that had suffered more than a year of artillery and missile bombardment.
Ukraine owns the western bank of the Dnieper, while Russian forces control the lower eastern side, which is more prone to flooding. The dam and reservoir, essential for fresh water and irrigation in southern Ukraine, are located in the Kherson region that Moscow illegally annexed in September and occupied last year.
Griffiths said the UN, working mainly through Ukrainian aid groups, had reached 30,000 people in flooded areas under Ukrainian control. So far, he said, Russia has not allowed the United Nations access to the areas it controls to help the flood victims.
Griffiths said he met Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, on Wednesday to ask Russian authorities to “allow our teams in Ukraine to go through the front lines to provide assistance, to provide support to … Ukrainians in those areas.”
“We are providing them with the details as we speak, to enable Moscow to meet what we hope will be a positive decision in this matter,” he said. “I hope it will come true.”
An emergency response is necessary to save lives, he said, “but behind that there is a huge looming problem of lack of proper drinking water for these 700,000 people” on both the Ukrainian and Russian-controlled sides. river.
There is also flooding of important farmland and a looming problem of providing cooling water to an area Zaporizhia He added that the largest nuclear power plant in Europe was supplied from the dam.
In addition, Griffiths noted that water has also rushed over areas with landmines from the war “and what we are bound to see are those mines floating in places where people least expect them,” threatening adults and especially children.
“It’s a series of problems,” he said, “starting with allowing people to survive today, and then giving them some kind of possibility for tomorrow.”
Because of the wide-ranging consequences, Griffiths said, it is “almost inevitable” that the United Nations will launch a private appeal for more aid money for Ukraine to deal with “a whole new order of magnitude” from the dam’s rupture. But he said he wanted to wait a few weeks to see the economic, health and environmental consequences before announcing the appeal.
Griffiths said he and the United Nations trade official Rebecca Greenspan It is also working to ensure an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which Turkey and the United Nations brokered with Ukraine and Russia last July to open three Black Sea ports in Ukraine for the export of grain.
More than 30,000 metric tons of wheat and other foodstuffs have been shipped under the deal, sending down global food prices that jumped dramatically after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It has been extended three times and ends on July 17.
Part of the agreement was a memorandum signed by Russia and the United Nations aimed at overcoming obstacles to Russian food and fertilizer shipments, which Moscow has repeatedly complained of not being fulfilled.
One of the main Russian demands has been the reopening of a pipeline between the Russian port of Togliatti on the Volga River and the Black Sea port of Odessa, which has been closed since Russia’s attack on Ukraine. It was carrying ammonia, a major ingredient in fertilizer.
“Opening this pipeline and transporting ammonia through the Black Sea into the global south is a priority for all of us,” Griffiths said. “Ammonia is an essential component of global food security.”
A rupture in the pipeline from the bombing was reported late Tuesday, but Griffiths said the United Nations could not confirm this because the pipeline is in the middle of a war zone.
“We of course strongly believe that we need to fix this as quickly as possible,” he said. “So let’s hope he wasn’t hit too hard.” He said the Ukrainians had told the United Nations that they would reach the pipeline on their territory “as soon as possible”.
Griffiths said the Ukrainians see the opening of the pipeline as part of a deal that also includes a Russian agreement to open a fourth Black Sea port in Mykolaiv to export more grain.
Negotiations have taken place in recent weeks, including a meeting on Friday in Geneva between UN Trade Commissioner Greenspan and Russia’s deputy foreign minister. Sergey Vershinin.
“We’re not there yet,” Griffiths said. “I hope we will succeed.”


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