A water trap. The Russians are not allowing residents to leave flooded villages in the occupied Kherson Region and are firing at volunteers
People in the flooded Oleshky, Nova Kakhovka and neighboring villages were trapped. The occupation authorities prevent people from evacuating.
Translated by Dmitry Lytov
Read this article in Ukrainian
"No evacuation was arranged; people are just waiting for a miracle. They have been sitting on the roofs of houses for a day. Many elderly people, people who could not climb higher, simply drowned and (their bodies) are floating into the streets," a girl whose relatives were trapped in a water trap in the Russian-occupied village of Pravi Solontsi near Oleshky told TEXTY.
On the night of June 6, the Russians blew up the Kakhovka HPP, which and flooded all the settlements located on the banks of the Dnieper downstream.
While in the liberated Kherson the State Emergency Service, the police and the military organized the evacuation of the affected local population and animals, and many volunteer missions came to the places to help people, the residents of the occupied territories are dying because they cannot leave.
The occupiers not only do not help the locals to evacuate, but also do not let them out of their cities or settlements and do not allow volunteers to enter them. The Russian military is firing at Ukrainian boats trying to sail to the occupied territories from the right bank.
TEXTY investigated open local chats in Telegram and Facebook and talked with local residents about the situation in the occupied territories and how people are being rescued there.
If you have relatives left on the left bank of the Kherson Region who were trapped due to the flood, leave a request to local volunteers here: https://t.me/OLESHKYevakuation
Second day without communication
While the collaborator Saldo (head of the quisling administration on the left bank of the Kherson region) is shooting a video about the "crimes of the Kyiv regime" for his Telegram channel, the residents of the occupied Kherson region are sitting on the roofs of their houses without food, drinking water, communication and electricity. Saldo claims that the occupation authorities are evacuating the affected residents, but the panic in the local chat rooms suggests otherwise.
People who have relatives left in Oleshky, Nova Kakhovka, Kardashinka, Goliya Prystan and neighboring villages are begging to share any contacts of people for help.
Electricity is not working in the region, and people spent more than a day on the roofs. Many have already lost their phones and communication is intermittent. Many people do not know about the fate of their relatives. Every minute someone asks what the situation is in their home street or district, or whether the water has already receded.
"Tell me, is there anyone from Engels Street? I'm looking for my father. There is no communication for the second day."
"An 84-year-old disabled woman was left alone at home, she cannot walk. No connection!!! If someone is nearby, come in, please, the neighbors know where the key is. Please!".
"Tell me what the situation is like on Richna Street?", "Could you tell me how critical the situation is at the end of Krylova Street?" Thank you!", "Please tell me, maybe someone knows how the situation is on Ivan Mazepa Street?".
"There is no evacuation"
In the Telegram channels of the local occupation authorities, we did not find any telephones or hotlines where people can call and at least leave a request for evacuation.
"My relatives have lost their phones, I contacted them only through the neighbors who are sitting with them on the roof. They still have some water and food left. But you must realize that this is all a matter of time. It's very difficult when you can't help your relatives," says a girl whose relatives have been sitting on the roof of the village of Pravi Solontsi for a day.
Since the occupation authorities left people to fend for themselves, local residents in the occupied territories took the initiative. A group of volunteers has created a separate chat where you can leave an evacuation request. There are hundreds of such applications. If you didn't update the chat for 5 minutes – you missed a hundred messages from people begging for help.
"Please save my parents and grandmother!!! The water level is critical, they are sitting in the attic. There is a small gap with air, they will be flooded. Please help! I am about to cry, just save my relatives!".
"PLEASE HELP! The village of Kardashynka, in the backyard on the hill, 10 people remained, maybe more. At another address in Kardashynka, people are sitting on the roof of a house. There are 9 people there, four of them are elderly. If anyone has any information about Kardashynka and the evacuation from it, please share!!!"
"Help please!!! My parents are sitting in the attic, water is still coming under the ceiling! (It is in) Pravi Solontsi. They are retired, and my mother suffered a stroke," a woman writes.
Every hour she sends a new message asking to help her parents, each time her words become more and more desperate: “Help please!!! My parents are sitting in the attic, water is still coming under the ceiling! (It is in) Pravi Solontsi. They are retired, and my mother suffered a stroke. They ran out of drinking water supplies. SOS!!!”
Sometimes the locals themselves write, if they have a connection and enough charge on their phone: "Good people, we are sitting on the roof, if anyone has a boat, please help!" The water is already about 2 meters high (6.5 ft), and it is coming!!!"
Volunteers in the chat are asked to provide their geolocation, the number of people on the spot and put the hashtag "#накарту" (on the map) so that the message is not lost.
As of 4:00 p.m., more than 500 tags have been made on the volunteers' map - these are the locations of people who are in danger and are waiting for the help of volunteers. One such tag may contain multiple applications (requests for help), and one application can be submitted by several people.
Only on Kirova Street in Oleshky, which was completely submerged, more than 20 requests for help were left. More than 50 people were trapped on this street, many of them elderly people, one resident was 85 years old. Meanwhile, Saldo wrote that adult residents allegedly do not want to evacuate and are waiting in their houses for the water to recede.
There are also small children among the trapped people.
"People, help evacuate people: a husband, wife and their 5-year-old daughter from Oleshky are sitting on the roof. HELP PLEASE!!!".
Volunteers ask people to shout or wave a bright cloth if they hear or see a boat nearby.
"Whoever is in the area of the farm, shout!!! The boys don't see you, but they can hear you," the volunteer writes.
“Relatives are shouting on Nizhnia Street, they say they saw a boat near Katyusha, it's very close by," texts a local woman in despair.
“I will message them now,” reassures the volunteer. “But I do not promise that the information will arrive.”
Trapped by the occupiers
The occupation authorities not only do not organize evacuation, but also prevent local volunteers from helping others.
"The Ruzzists have set up roadblocks in Veliki Kopany and are not letting anyone in, they are turning people back. People are not allowed to leave. As of now, nobody is evacuating, or planning to evacuate local people," writes a local resident in the Oleshky chat.
According to the coordinator of the local volunteer movement, who wished to remain anonymous, the situation in Oleshky was the same at night. Therefore, the entire volunteer movement is focused on the local people, whose resources are extremely scarce. They transport people in their own vehicles to the center of the town (it is located on high ground and was not flooded), leave the evacuees and go back.
This information was also confirmed by Ukrainian volunteer Andrii Knyga. The man is from Oleshky, but now lives in free Ukrainian territory. His relatives remained in the water trap.
“The Russians do not let people in or out. They do not explain it in any way. Many acquaintances tried to leave Oleshky through Velyki Kopany and were simply turned back. This was yesterday morning, when there was no such significant flooding and it was possible to leave by car. Now the water has risen so much that all the cars are now flooded, and people have to sit on the roofs.
I know that they do not let even Russian volunteers pass, those who came to help people from Crimea. As for the Ukrainians from the liberated right bank, who tried to come to Oleshky by boat - the Russians simply fire at them. All help is organized only by local people,” Knyga said.