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Destruction of Kakhovka dam inflicted $13.8 billion in damage and losses, UNDP says

Flooding damage after the explosion of the Kakhovka dam. (Photo by Oleksandr Gimanov / UNDP in Ukraine)

The destruction in June of the Kakhovka dam and hydropower plant in June inflicted some $13.8 billion in damage and losses, with more than half stemming from environmental impacts, according to a study by the United Nations Development Programme and the Ukrainian government.

Direct physical damage from the June 6 explosion that blew up the dam on the Dnieper River totals $2.79 billion, including $1.26 billion in damage to the energy infrastructure, $1.1 billion in damage to housing and $128 million in damage to agricultural lands, the study says.

Losses stemming from the explosion, meanwhile total $11 billion, including an estimated $6.4 billion from the destruction of 11,300 hectares (28,000 acres) of forest and the impact on 333,000 hectares of protected areas. Losses to the energy sector total $3.8 billion while losses in agriculture come to $383 million. The losses were estimated for 18 months from the date of the explosion.

The study estimates that the cost of recovery and restoration will total $5 billion in three phases, including $1.8 billion in spending needed by the end of 2024, as "essential services such as electricity and gas must be restored, and immediate actions must be taken to prevent further environmental and cultural asset damage."

A second phase, to cost $2.2 billion, is "critical for reconstruction and centers on sectors like housing, energy, agriculture, and infrastructure" and the long-term phase "mainly targets the energy and culture sectors, requiring $1 billion."

The explosion caused "irreparable" damage to the Kakhovka hydro power plant, with damage there along totaling $1.2 billion, and the flooding damaged or destroyed over 37,000 homes, affecting 100,000 people in 80 settlements, according to the study. More than 1 million people lost access to clean drinking water, 130,000 lost electricity, and irrigation to 306,500 hectares of farmland was lost or reduced.

The circumstances of the explosion are not clear, with Russians and Ukrainians blaming each other. The dam was under Russian control at the time of the explosion, which the Ukrainian government said shows the Russians blew it up. However, Ukraine was preparing a major offensive in the area at the time and the Russians accuse Ukraine of blowing up the dam to advance military objectives.

State hydropower producer Ukrehydroenergo has signed agreements with several foreign firms to help rebuild the power station and recover from damage in the area, including GE Vernova, Turkish firms Ozaltin Holding, Dogus Group and Dolsar Muhendislik, Canadian builder Aecon, Bechtel, South Korea's K-Water and others.

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