Ukraine war: ‘Ecological catastrophe’ – Five environmental impacts of Nova Kakhovka dam collapse
The collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine will have profound and far-reaching consequences, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling it an “environmental bomb of mass destruction”.
Here are five ways the incident is expected to impact the country, from immediate emergency issues to long-term problems.
The reservoir that is now draining away was once one of the largest in Ukraine.
Much of the southern part of the country and Russian-annexed Crimea relied on it for fresh water.
Depending on how low the water levels go, there are likely to be severe impacts on access to fresh water for hundreds of thousands of residents.
Farm flooding and irrigation
Fields downriver from the dam will suffer from the immediate problem of flooding and crop destruction, but the other potentially more serious issue is that about half a million acres of fertile farmland rely on the Kakhovka reservoir for irrigation.
If farmers lose water for their crops during the summer months, there could be severe knock-on effects on food production and security.
A major hydropower plant connected to the dam on the Dnipro River has been severely damaged.
There are concerns that oil and chemicals from this plant are already spilling into the river.
Officials are also closely watching a nearby nuclear power station which relies on water from the river for cooling, although the International Atomic Energy Agency has stressed that the plant has other means to keep reactors and fuel rods cool for at least the next few months.
President Zelenskyy has said that between 35 to 80 settlements, towns and villages are expected to flood, making the immediate aid effort challenging.
Depending on the scale of the damage, the flooding will leave already vulnerable people homeless while communities are rebuilt.
Experts have also warned that because the flooded area is on the front lines, mines that have been planted along the riverbanks and in the surrounding lands may be swept away and repositioned elsewhere.
Ecosystems and animals
It is difficult to know the scale of the impact yet on the delicate and important ecosystems downriver of the dam, including the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve and the Oleshky Sands National Nature Park.
Ukraine’s defence ministry has also said that the flooding has killed around 300 animals at the Nova Kakhovka zoo.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called the flooding an “ecological catastrophe”.
Somalia truck bombing kills 15 people and wounds 40 others
A bombing at a checkpoint in Somalia has killed at least 15 people and wounded 40 others, authorities have said.
Images on social media showed a damaged truck cab on fire and black smoke billowing from the scene in the central city of Beledweyne.
No one has immediately claimed responsibility, including Al Shabaab, which often carries out attacks and controls parts of Somalia.
Police officer Ahmed Aden said the dead included five police officers who fired on the truck in a failed attempt to stop it from ramming into the nearby checkpoint.
Shops nearby were reduced to rubble, with reports of people missing beneath the debris.
It was a truck loaded with explosive devices that forcefully passed through the government-manned checkpoint, and a pick-up vehicle belonging to security personnel was chasing it when it exploded,” said witness Abdikadir Arba, who said he was about 200 metres away and was one of the first responders.
Abdifatah Mohamed Yusuf, director-general of the Hirshabelle Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster Management, confirmed the deaths.
“Twenty of the wounded have been admitted to Beledweyne hospitals, while another 20 are in critical condition, prompting a request for their airlift to Mogadishu for advanced medical treatment,” he said.
Hirshabelle is a state that includes Beledweyne. It has been the centre of the Somali government’s latest military offensive against extremists from Al Shabaab.
Al Shabaab has been battling Somalia’s central government for more than a decade, aiming to establish its rule based on strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
Fugitive on run for more than 30 years laughs as he’s finally caught
A fugitive convicted of attempted murder who evaded police for more than 30 years has been caught.
Greg Lawson, who had been on the run for 32 years, laughed and asked officers “how are you doing?” as he was handcuffed in Huatulco, Mexico.
Lawson, 63, fled Louisiana, in the US, just before a jury found him guilty of shooting a man called Seth Garlington in 1991 – sparking an FBI manhunt in May that year.
In a video shared by FBI News Orelans on X, formerly known as Twitter, Lawson is seen wearing a short-sleeve shirt and camouflage cap.
With police officers in escort, he patted someone on the shoulder while laughing, before another officer turned to handcuff him.
Douglas Williams Jr, the agent in charge of FBI New Orleans, said the capture would not have been possible without the help of authorities in Mexico.
“We want to thank our partners and the public in this case, who never gave up hope that justice could be served for Mr Lawson’s victim,” he said.
“There is no doubt that Mr Lawson might still be in the wind if our partners in Mexico had not been willing to deal with this so swiftly.”
The FBI said they had always suspected Lawson was hiding out in Mexico, but a “tip” they received earlier this month appeared to confirm their theory.
He was arrested on Tuesday, 19 September, and was taken into custody back in Louisiana.
According to a local Louisiana news channel, KTBS, Lawson had a “fistfight” with Mr Garlington in a car park at a petrol station.
Court documents, they added, claim Lawson forced Mr Garlington’s vehicle off the motorway, with Lawson then firing shots.
When the jury came back from deliberation to confirm the guilty verdict, Lawson had already run away.
The FBI had offered a $10,000 (£8,200) reward for his capture.
Sweden: Chunk of motorway collapses in landslide – leaving three in hospital
Three people have been taken to hospital after a large chunk of a motorway in Sweden collapsed in a landslide early on Saturday morning.
Several buildings were also damaged, including a Burger King restaurant.
The landslide has affected a total area of around 700 x 200 metres, which is roughly equivalent of 21 football pitches.
“The hardest hit parts of the landslide area measure around 150 x 100 metres,” the Gothenburg Rescue Services added in a statement.
“A number of people have been helped out of vehicles in the slide area with the help of fire personnel and a helicopter.”
Rescue services say further landslides cannot be ruled out.
Police say nobody is suspected of a crime, but an investigation has been launched into whether a construction site nearby caused the landslide.
There has also been heavy rainfall in the area over the past few days.
Swedish news agency TT reported several cars and one truck had fallen into cracks caused by the landslide, while rescue services told public broadcaster SVT all people have been helped out.
Specially trained dogs were on the scene to ensure no people had been overlooked among the debris.
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