Borodyanka, Ukraine, Apr 15 (EFE).- Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine nearly two months ago, thousands of Ukrainian volunteers have been working tirelessly to help rebuild what has been destroyed by enemy forces.
After Kremlin troops withdrew from the Kyiv province, volunteers in its district of Borodyanka, the worst-hit, joined forces with emergency services to sweep away the remains of Russian shelling and clean the few buildings still left standing so that they can one day be homes again.
Buildings on the main avenue are on the verge of collapse, a symbol of death and destruction.
Dozens of volunteers scattered across the town wearing gloves and helmets and equipped with shovels and brooms push aside tons of rubble to help emergency crews search under the debris for more missing bodies.
“I have never seen so much destruction in my entire career,” head of Kyiv’s emergency department, Vladislau Horban, tells Efe.
Horban’s unit is checking a nine-story apartment block that was bombed, leaving a gaping hole in the center of the building.
“I can’t stay at home and do nothing. I need to help because it’s my responsibility as a civilian and we want to restore the place,” Serguei, 44, a volunteer who ran a car wash tunnel before the war, tells Efe.
It is his first day of volunteering. “There is a lot to do,” he says.
Helen and a group of women have spent all morning cleaning up the Borodyanka cultural center, severely damaged by Russian shelling.
“I am here because my country needs me,” she tells Efe.
The group of women have cleaned the building room by room, hoping it will one day return to hosting cultural events and plays for children.
Meanwhile, Ludmela walks through the most destroyed building in Borodyanka. She has come to pick up her belongings from what used to be her home.
“There is no way we can live here, we don’t know if it will be possible, but we hope they can rebuild the building,” she says.
Over 70% of Borodyanka’s infrastructure has been destroyed by Russian shelling, according to official data.
“The priority now is to clean the streets and houses, we do not yet have a budget for reconstruction,” a member of the Kyiv regional council, Halina Yerko, says.
When and whether Borodyanka’s 15,000 residents will be able to return to their homes is yet to be confirmed.
“We Ukrainians do things fast and in the best possible way. We are superheroes: we have the power of love and of our land. They can’t stop us,” she says. EFE