"The Never-Ending Nightmare of Ukraine’s Dam Disaster"

"Environmentally, economically and in terms of pure human suffering, the destruction of the Kakhovka dam unleashed untold damage. Months later, many communities are still reeling."

"Sunset along the Kakhovka Reservoir in central Ukraine, especially in summer, used to be gorgeous: kids played in the shallow water near the shore, men fished and young couples walked under the pine trees as the last traces of sunlight reflected off the water.

But after the destruction of a major dam just downriver, that shimmering lake, one of Europe’s biggest, simply disappeared. Now all that remains is a 150-mile-long meadow.

For 60-plus years, the Bezhan family ran a fishing business on these shores. They bought boats, nets, freezers and enormous rumbling ice-making machines, and generation after generation made a living off the fish. But now there are no fish.

“If the war ended tomorrow, and I don’t think it will,” said Serhii Bezhan, the family’s broad-chested patriarch, “it would take five years to rebuild that dam and then at least two more for the reservoir to fill up. Then it would take another 10 years for the fish to grow — for some species, 20.”"

Jeffrey Gettleman reports for the New York Times with photographs by Finbarr O’Reilly September. 3, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 09/05/2023