The Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island will be hosting a rally at the B.C. Legislature on Sunday in response to a crucial dam collapse that happened in Ukraine on June 6.
The Nova Kakhovka dam broke on Tuesday, sending water downriver and causing ecological damage to villages and parts of the southern city of Kherson.
Officials on both sides have accused one another of causing the destruction. Ukraine officials say that Russian forces blew up the dam and its hydroelectric power station, while Russian officials say it was destroyed by Ukrainian military strikes.
Fourteen deaths have been reported from the collapse and tens of thousands of people have been left without power and clean water.
Valeria Schumik, office manager with the Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island says her father-in-law is currently in another part of Kherson that has not been affected by flooding. Some friends have not been affected as well.
“They survive, they’re not okay. It’s a big huge war. They all day face it with [the] danger and they [could] die every day,” said Schumik.
Ukrainian officials said on Thursday that Russian forces had shelled Kherson, putting a halt to rescue efforts. Schumik says her fears now are for the of safety those trying to help others.
“They try to save their lives and Russian soldiers continue to bomb even them,” said Schumik.
The Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island says it’s now looking to inform the public on the current situation in Ukraine while showing support. A rally will begin at 10 a.m. on the front lawn of the government building.
“To show that we are together, that we support people in Ukraine when they have so [many] hard times to walk through,” said Zhanna Kolesnyk, a volunteer with the Help Ukraine VI.
Kolesnyk says optimism is difficult to maintain when attacks like these happen, but that it’s important to rally together.
“We are losing what we have and we should protect it and for sure now we should stand with Ukraine,” said Kolesnyk.
With files from CBC
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misidentified the organization that was organizing this rally. It has been updated with to reflect that the Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island is the organizer.