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PWRDF responds to Kherson dam collapse in Ukraine

Flooding in Kherson, Ukraine following the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station dam collapse. (Xenia Keleberda/Hungarian Interchurch Aid)

June 20, 2023

By Jacqueline Tucci

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On June 6, an explosion destroyed the dam at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station in Kherson, Ukraine. The ongoing war and Russian occupation in Ukraine have created a state of chaos, with impacts to the economy, agriculture and power supplies. The dam disaster will only exacerbate these struggles. It has caused power outages and major flooding, leading to displacement of thousands from their homes. The lack of clean drinking water will have a devastating impact on public health. PWRDF is responding with $100,000 to an ACT Alliance appeal for funds to aid in emergency relief efforts. These funds are being allocated to Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA)’s rapid response to the dam break in Kherson – the largest dam in the country.

ACT Alliance and Hungarian Interchurch Aid in Kherson. (Xenia Keleberda/HIA)

HIA staff have maintained a permanent presence in Ukraine – including in Kherson – which has allowed for the quick redirection of efforts to mitigate the impacts of the dam disaster. On June 6, HIA and its local partner distributed 350 emergency aid kits to those fleeing the floods. HIA President-Director László Lehel was already in the region, conducting talks with local leaders and delivering 5 tons of aid. Shortly after the disaster on June 9, 20 tons of hygiene and food items arrived in the region and were distributed over the course of the following week.

In addition to the HIA’s permanent staff, an emergency team of humanitarian experts has been dispatched to the region where they have been working to assess needs and create an emergency response plan. Hundreds of non-food item kits (NFI kits) and water, sanitation, and hygiene kits (WASH kits) have since been distributed, while HIA and partners on the ground have also been providing generators, bottled drinking water, baby hygiene kits and more. PWRDF funds are supporting these rapid efforts.

A woman receives an HIA aid kit. (Xenia Keleberda/HIA)

“Being present in Ukraine for about 2 decades and working closely with several local partners and communities, HIA is an experienced, trusted and well-placed actor to deliver quality humanitarian assistance, including in the region affected by the recent explosion of the Kakhovka dam,” said Naba Gurung, PWRDF Humanitarian Response Coordinator.

Local government officials suggest that more than 16,000 people have been directly affected by the catastrophe, but many more will suffer from the impacts of consequent flooding. A lack of drinking water, the spread of disease and the disruption of utility services all threaten the lives and livelihoods of thousands in the surrounding regions. Emergency response efforts mitigate these impacts.

The Hungarian Interchurch Alliance is one of the largest charitable organizations in Hungary, operating 50 social and protection institutions in 24 municipalities, and is a long-standing partner of PWRDF.

Watch: HIA works to distribute aid in Kherson

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