UN aid chief says Ukraine faces `hugely worse' humanitarian situation after the dam rupture
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is "hugely worse" than before the Kakhovka dam collapsed, the U.N.'s top aid official warned Friday.
Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths 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 almost inevitably lead to lower grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less to eat for millions in need
"This is a viral problem," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But the truth is this is only the beginning of seeing the consequences of this act."
The rupture of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and emptying of its reservoir on the Dnieper River on Wednesday added to the misery in a region that has suffered for more than a year from artillery and missile attacks.
Ukraine holds the Dnieper's western bank, while Russian troops control the low-lying eastern side, which is more vulnerable to flooding. The dam and reservoir, essential for fresh water and irrigation in southern Ukraine, lies in the Kherson region that Moscow illegally annexed in September and has occupied for the past year.
Griffiths said the United Nations, working mainly through Ukrainian aid groups, has reached 30,000 people in flooded areas under Ukrainian control. He said that so far Russia has not given access to areas it controls for the U.N. to help flood victims.
Griffiths said he met with Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, on Wednesday to ask Russian authorities "for access for our teams in Ukraine to go across the front lines to give aid, to provide support for … Ukrainians in those areas."
"We're providing them with details as we speak, to enable Moscow to meet...