IRPIN, Ukraine – Galina Kovalenko և her husband has spent the last 20 years renovating an old house. Ki is a suburb of Irpin, work room by room, designing each square centimeter together. They planned to grow old there by tending to their backyard garden and playing with their white Pekingese dog named Gel.
Then the Russians came.
“Russian forces burned down the house and killed Gel,” Kovalenko said.
Kovalenko, 68, was looking for a place to live near a newly donated British government donated housing.
“The problem is money. “We put everything in that old house,” Kovalenko said. “I do not imagine that the government will pay so that we can rebuild. All we need right now is one room. “I hope God will give us a room.”
Since the expulsion of Russian forces The suburbs of Ki Last month, Ukraine did remarkably quick work to repair damaged infrastructure. Roads that have been destroyed tanks և grenade launchers They have already been repaired, the debris from the streets have been cleaned, the water supply and sewerage lines have been restored, the grocery stores have been reopened.
However, rebuilding dilapidated houses or apartment buildings as the country is still at war is proving to be a much more difficult task, leaving thousands of people in desperate need of help.
The crisis creates a split among Ukrainians. Those who have the means start paying for their repairs, while those who do not have money depend on charities for help groups to get asylum.
Violetta Dvornikova, a member of the Irpin city council and an adviser to the mayor, says the situation is getting worse because of the refugees who fled at the beginning of the war. returning to Ukraine only to find their homes leveled. “There is less space available in nearby shelters every day, and people are getting angrier,” Dvornikova said.
“Not all people understand the difficulty of the real situation. We are accused. “Sometimes it seems like we blew up their house, but now we have to give them money to rebuild,” he said, adding that the city’s tax revenue had completely disappeared when the war broke out on February 24.
He had a message for the refugees who were thinking of returning home to Ukraine.
Bodies are still being exhumed from under the ruins of Irpin. And the city is in the process of investigating the damage to find out if the buildings can be repaired or if they should be completely demolished. At least 37 apartment buildings have so far been confirmed to be irreversibly damaged, and the total cost of rebuilding the city will be more than $ 1 billion.
Irpin, which had a population of about 70,000 before the war, represents only a small part of the country’s devastation. In more populated cities, where fighting is still going on, such as Mariupol, the damage is much worse.
Ukrainian officials have said they must win the war before they can fully implement large-scale reconstruction projects. But the huge damage, from roads to bridges to apartments to schools, raises questions about how the country can afford to recover on any schedule.
Ukraine’s resources are drying up. The government has collected only 60 percent of its tax revenue for April, and has so far spent $ 8.3 billion to help fund the war. The finance minister told Reuters. This has made the country heavily dependent on foreign aid and charity to meet its humanitarian needs. President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky He estimated that the losses suffered by the country’s economy and infrastructure as a result of the war will be around $ 600 billion.
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