A Dam Collapses and Thousands Face the Deluge Often With No Help in Russian-Occupied Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) For days, the Ukrainian teenager has waited in the attic, just down the street from the cemetery of her flooded town, marking time with her 83-year-old grandfather and two other elderly people and hoping for help to escape the deluge of a catastrophic dam collapse.
But help is slow in coming to Oleshky, a Russian-occupied town across the Dnieper River from the city of Kherson with a prewar population of 24,000, according to those stranded and their desperate Ukrainian rescuers. Russian forces are taking rescuers' boats, they say. Some say the soldiers will only help people with Russian passports.
Russian soldiers are standing at the checkpoints, preventing (rescuers) from approaching the most-affected areas and taking away the boats, said one volunteer, Yaroslav Vasiliev. They are afraid of saboteurs, they suspect everyone.
So 19-year-old Yektarina But and the three elderly people with her simply wait, along with thousands of others believed to be trapped by floodwaters spread across 600 square kilometers (230 square miles) of the Kherson region. About two-thirds of the flooded areas are in territory occupied by Russia, officials said.