Israel has announced that it will send drinking water and food to the Kherson region in eastern Ukraine, where thousands of people were affected by the collapse of a dam last week.
The Kakhovka dam, built in 1956, broke on June 6, causing floods that submerged villages and farmlands on both sides of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian authorities have evacuated more than 16,000 people and declared a state of emergency.
The Israeli aid, which includes hundreds of thousands of liters of water and over 10 tons of food, was coordinated with the Ukrainian authorities and the office of the first lady, Olena Zelenska. It will be delivered by volunteer organizations working with the Israeli Embassy in Kyiv.
“The State of Israel stands by the side of the Ukrainian people. Especially at this difficult time, we are coming to the rescue in order to provide immediate humanitarian aid for the benefit of the citizens affected by the collapse of the dam,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement.
Israel also condemned the destruction of the dam, which was blamed on Russia by Ukraine and the US. Russia denied any involvement and accused Ukraine of sabotaging its own infrastructure.
“Israel is shocked by the extensive damage to the Kakhovka Dam. Thousands of innocent civilians are at risk from this terrible destruction. The entire international community must strongly condemn this deliberate damage to critical infrastructure,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said.
Israel’s largest humanitarian-aid organization, Israel, was already operating in the Kherson region since November 2022 and launched an emergency response to the disaster. It provided medication, first aid training, bedding, water-treatment plants, and mental-health support to the affected communities.
“This is not a one-day problem. We stay with communities as long as they need it. We will stay with the communities that got affected as long as it takes and do more than just provide for immediate needs,” Anna Pantiukhova, translator and communications officer at IsraAID’s Ukraine mission, told JNS.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Chabad also assisted the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the region, delivering food packages, hygiene kits, water filters and generators.
“The Jewish community became a center for everyone. It is a light to the nations,” Rabbi Yosef Wolff, director of the Jewish Community of Kherson Chabad, told JNS.
The flooding also posed environmental and security risks, as some areas were mined during the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists.
“Besides the obvious destruction of the ecosystem, animals and people, the area was mined. A lot of [those] mines are moving along with the flow of the water. It increases the danger for the civilians and the consequences for the environment,” Pantiukhova said.
Israel To Provide Clean Water And Food To Ukraine Amid Kherson Flooding, i24NEWS, June 12, 2023
IsraAID, JDC, Chabad assist Ukrainians on the ground in wake of dam flooding, JNS.org, June 8, 2023
Israel sending food and water to flooded Ukraine region, The Times of Israel, June 12, 2023
Israeli NGO sends aid after catastrophic dam explosion, Israel21c, June 8, 2023