For the past two weeks, all talks have been about possible flooding of the capital and western regions of Ukraine. In this respect, a headquarter was established in Kyiv on the basis of commission on technogenic and ecological safety and emergency situations, which will deal with flood prevention and liquidation of its consequences. For the moment, rescuers assure that there no grounds to panic because of possible flooding.

"There are no grounds for panic. Sudden temperature increase is not expected, and with night temperature of 0-3 degrees, negative consequences are hardly probable. However, a possibility of flooding of ground territories and separate residential buildings in bottomland is not ruled out," deputy head of the rescue department of the State Emergency Service Mykola Chechetkin said.

In turn, head of the regional rescue department Mykola Kravchuk reported that water in Dnipro is within permissible limits, and there is no threat for Kyiv to be flooded. According to him, water pass in Prypiat is also under control. "We've been monitoring the situation in Chernobyl zone and Prypiat River. The water level declines."

However, despite such optimistic forecast, 85 units of special equipment for flood response and 165 rescuers have been sent to Kyiv from different regions of Ukraine, namely Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhya, Poltva, Odesa, Mykolayiv and Kharkiv regions. Engines have been distributed among fire brigades of Kyiv, but in case of emergency will be deployed to western regions.

Fire pump trucks and hose wagons stay on high alert. Rescuers explain that these engines work in pairs. "If there is an emergency situation, we put a fire pump station, connect it to hose wagons and pump out water. With the help of hose wagons, we can lay two-kilometer- long supply lines. Pump stations pump up to 110 liters per second," head of the Kyiv emergency control department Andriy Kutsenko explained.

This is the 25th fire department, hosting rescuers from Poltava and Odesa regions. Apart from engines, it also has motor pumps.

According to Kutsenko, these motor pumps will be used in places with minor flood damage, like backyards or basements, where the level of water is not so high and access for heavy engines is limited. According to the official, a motor pump can pump out water from basement in ten minutes. There have been 58 similar pumps brought in Kyiv from regions.

For the moment, rescuers do not have much work to do. In last three days, there were three flooding cases:  two in Solomenski district and one in Desnyanski. However, the rescue teams from regions remain on the alert and follow the routine of local rescuers.

Nobody could tell us for how long the emergency response teams from regions would stay in Kyiv. Head of the Kyiv state emergency department noted that the equipment and personnel would stay until further orders of the head of the State Emergency Control Service and until weather forecast center assures Kyiv is not threatened with floods.

While one part of rescuers has equipped itself with special engines to liquidate consequences of flooding, another part is working on prevention of water level rise and destruction of river structures due to ice movement. To make ice movement go smoothly, pyrotechnic interference is inevitable , Mykola Kravchuk says.

Some days ago, such interference was required on Dnipro strait near Zhukov Island.

According to the leading specialist of the pyrotechnic department of the State Emergency Control Service Oleh Bondar, the monitoring results showed that ice accumulation and ice clogging on the strait might destroy the nearby bridge. 

It was decided to hold ice blasting and ForUm managed to witness the operation.

Having arrived on the strait, a response team went to explore the situation on ice floe and plant explosives.

Having checked there were no people around, the team leader pressed the button and in some seconds the ice exploded falling into pieces.

Having controlled the results of blasting, pyrotechnicians reported to the center about success of the operation.

Rescuers say they never know where ice blasting may be required next time. Everything depends on the weather. In turn, Bondar noted that this operation was the first one in this season in Kyiv. Kyiv water reservoir is under control for the moment. However, Pechenezhske water reservoir in Kharkiv was about to lose its dam, and pyrotechnicians had to blast the ice back in February.

Let's hope the nature will not spring any more unpleasant surprises on us in the future, and let the rescue teams be capable to fix the consequences of the boisterous weather.

Tetyana Matsur, photos by Viktor Kovalchuk


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