In Ukraine, rebuilding starts with neighbors’ help

Aug 13, 2022, 1:41 PM | Updated: Aug 14, 2022, 1:47 am
Volunteers clear rubble on the second floor of Zhanna and Serhiy Dynaeva's house which was destroye...

Volunteers clear rubble on the second floor of Zhanna and Serhiy Dynaeva's house which was destroyed by Russian bombardment, in a residential area, in the village of Novoselivka, near Chernihiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Residents in many heavily-damaged areas in Ukraine have set up their own initiatives to rebuild homes before the winter as international organizations rush aid to Ukraine to help with the reconstruction effort. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

NOVOSELIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — As battles raged around Kyiv, one Russian advance was stopped in front of Maria Metla’s home. Artillery gutted most of the house, while the rest was pulverized by tank fire.

Metla, 66, is now counting on her neighbors to have somewhere to live this winter.

Crews of volunteers turn up on most mornings to prize away anything that can be reused – setting up neat piles of bricks, destroyed kitchen appliances for scrap metal, and chunks of insulation panels.

The salvaged material is reused to help rebuild homes destroyed along the perimeter of Russia’s failed attempt during the initial stages of the war to surround and capture Ukraine’s capital.

The village of Novoselivka, 140 kilometers (nearly 90 miles) north of Kyiv, was a scene of intense fighting during the 36-day attack on the capital. Metal doors are buckled by bullet holes from heavy machine-gun fire and houses like Metla’s were smashed by ground and aerial bombardment.

“We dragged what we could to the basement. Five bombs – one, two, three, four, five – exploded in the field behind us,” Meta said while standing in what used to be the living room of her destroyed home. She keeps a burned exercise bike and a religious icon of St. Nicholas as reminders of life before the war.

Ukraine’s authorities said last month that the country had suffered more than $100 billion – equivalent to two-thirds of its 2020 gross domestic product – in infrastructure damage alone but estimate that the reconstruction effort could cost more than seven times that amount.

Officials are appealing to Western countries to tap frozen Russian assets on top of what they are willing to donate to help pay for the bill.

Container homes from Poland are being set up near Novoselivka, a village filled with orchards, sunflower patches, and back gardens with chickens, outside the historic northern city of Chernihiv. But the scale of the damage has prompted scores of local initiatives.

“In many other countries, if your home is destroyed, you might put up a ‘For Sale’ sign and move to another town. It’s not like that here,” said Andriy Galyuga, a local volunteer organizer. “People are very attached to where they are from and they don’t want to leave.”

Galyuga’s organization, Bomozhemo, is in contact with similar initiatives that have sprung up all around the Ukrainian capital.

At one smashed home, Galyuga bounds up a broken stairwell to direct a 25-member crew of volunteers loading salvaged cinder blocks onto a slide and determinedly prying off construction material with pickaxes and crowbars.

Children and retired women help the effort watched by the worried home owner, Zhanna Dynaeva, who makes food for the workers, many of whom have also lost their homes.

The gaunt-looking Dynaeva, is staying with a friend, but visits her home daily to maintain an immaculate garden. She carries trays of drinks and sandwiches on the day the volunteers came to visit.

“I am so grateful to them. People around me have helped so much,” she said. As she gives an account of her escape from the bombardment, Dynaeva bursts into tears and is hugged by her homeless neighbor, Metla.

“I’m hoping I can stay on my property, maybe in a makeshift home to start,” Dynaeva says. “I don’t know what will happen to us. Winter will be here soon. I just worry all the time.”

___

Evgeniy Maloletka and Susie Blann contributed to this report.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

___

Follow Derek Gatopoulos at https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos and Vasilisa Stepanenko at https://twitter.com/VasilisaUKR

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Bosnian man casts his vote at a poling station in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Polls ope...
Associated Press

Voting begins in Bosnia election, little expected to change

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Polls opened Sunday in Bosnia for a general election that is unlikely to bring any structural change despite palpable disappointment in the small, ethnically divided Balkan country with the long-established cast of sectarian political leaders. The election includes races for various levels of government that are part of one of the […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Vehicle overturn kills 26, injures 10 in India

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — A farm tractor pulling a wagon loaded with people overturned and fell into a pond in northern India, killing 26 people, most of them women and children, officials said Sunday. Superintendent of Police Tej Swaroop Singh said the wagon was carrying around 40 people returning from a ceremony at a nearby […]
23 hours ago
Women walk past election campaign posters in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. Bulgar...
Associated Press

Bulgarians hold 4th election in 18 months amid turmoil

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarians on Sunday cast their ballots in a general election — the fourth in 18 months — marked by a raging war nearby, political instability, and economic hardships in the European Union’s poorest member. Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT). First exit poll results will be announced after polls […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com, raises his arms to celebrate the IP...
Associated Press

Chinese billionaire Richard Liu settles US rape allegation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student who alleged he raped her in her Minneapolis apartment after a night of dinner and drinks with wealthy Chinese executives in 2018, attorneys for both sides announced late Saturday. A settlement amount […]
23 hours ago
This satellite image taken at 20:20 UTC and provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Orlene on Saturda...
Associated Press

Hurricane Orlene heads for Mexico’s former prison islands

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Orlene rapidly strengthened as it swirls toward Mexico’s northwest Pacific coast, with a likely close brush with former prison islands being developed by the government as an ecotourism destination. After growing into a hurricane Saturday, Orlene quickly added power, and its maximum sustained winds were up to 110 mph (175 […]
23 hours ago
Electoral workers move electronic voting machine boxes at a distribution center in Rio de Janeiro, ...
Associated Press

Brazil holds historic election with Lula against Bolsonaro

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — More than 120 million Brazilians will vote Sunday in a highly polarized election that could determine if the country returns a leftist to the helm of the world’s fourth-largest democracy or keeps the far-right incumbent in office for another four years. With polls opening at 8 a.m. Brasilia time, the […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
In Ukraine, rebuilding starts with neighbors’ help