“Everything is going to die here,” said Sergiy as water from the breached Kakhovka dam poured downstream into the Ukrainian city of Kherson on Tuesday.
“All the living creatures, and people will be flooded out,” he said, gesturing at nearby houses and gardens.
Locals blamed Russia for blowing up the dam as water poured into the southern city from the mighty Dnipro River, flowing down roads and covering low-lying fields.
In some areas people were packing up their belongings, fearing their homes would soon be flooded.
“We’re afraid of flooding. We’re taking our things a little higher up,” said one woman, Lyudmyla, standing outside her house next to a trailer containing her belongings and a washing machine.
Clutching her mobile phone, she angrily called for Russian forces to be “kicked out of here… they’re shooting at us. There they’re flooding us or doing something else.”
Locals stood staring down at the brown water from a road bridge built high enough to allow сargo ships to pass under it as water already lapped around warehouses on the bank.
“It’s about three metres (higher) for sure,” said one local man, Kostyantin.
“The water has risen a good deal,” he added.
“The flood is coming. You can really see it in front of your eyes,” said another Kherson resident, Viktor, standing on a raised railway line with a view of the river.
“What will happen next, no one knows.”
“Let’s just say that the only good Russian is a dead Russian.”
Sergiy, who was standing nearby, said the area has a high water table anyway. “Now the river is coming up and all this will be flooded.
“People will suffer. There’s already no water coming out of taps — why not, no one knows,” he said, gesturing helplessly.
© Agence France-Presse