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Evacuations underway in Ukraine after dam blast causes massive flooding

This image made from video provided by Ukraine's presidential office shows the damaged Nova Kakhovka dam near Kherson. (Photo by AP)

Ukraine is continuing to evacuate thousands of people from the southern part of the country, following the destruction of a key dam in the Russian-controlled Kherson region, which has caused a massive flooding.

Ukrainian officials said evacuations and rescue operations are underway as 40,000 people are in danger amid an expected peak level of flooding on Wednesday, adding that so far, 17,000 people had been evacuated from the flooded areas.

The remaining people are in the Russian-controlled part and need to be evacuated as well, they added.

Video footage showed Ukrainian army, police forces and emergency services equipped with inflatable boats trying to evacuate Kherson residents from the flooded areas.

A video released by Ukraine’s defense ministry also showed floodwaters inundated the streets while people sought safety on top of a truck.

Ambulances were also stationed to help the injured upon reaching drier ground.

Early on Tuesday, the Nova Kakhovka dam was destroyed, with satellite images and videos on social media showing a series of intense explosions around the dam, as flood water was unleashed across the war zone.

The flood, threatening scores of villages, sparked fear of large-scale devastation and mass evacuation.

While Ukraine blamed the Russian forces for the destruction of the dam, Kherson’s mayor accused Kiev of destroying the dam to mask the country's counteroffensive "failures" in the east.

The Nova Kakhovka dam, critical infrastructure, holds an estimated 18 cubic kilometers of water. It supplies water for much of southeastern Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, and the Crimean peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Throughout the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, both Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of plotting to blow up the Nova Kakhovka dam, several times.

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