The everyday resilience of the Ukrainian people is truly inspiring. For the last month people in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, have sheltered in the subways while bombs rain down on their homes. After so long, many residents are turning the tunnels into something of a community.
This report is from the Washington Post and includes pictures and personal stories of how residents are making the subways — built by the Soviet Union in 1975 to withstand the blast from a nuclear bomb — as habitable as possible. Two hundred to 300 people, at least 50 of them children, eat, drink and sleep in tents or out in the open in the tunnels while avoiding the deadly surface streets. Kharkiv, formerly a city of 1.4 million, is now a ghost town as Russian bombs shatter neighborhoods, the Post reports.
Most of the people in the tunnels have been there since February 24, when the bombs first began dropping. While the entire story is incredibly sad, the most heartbreaking are details come from parents who are doing everything they can to keep their kids safe in these extraordinary circumstances. From the Post:
A bunch of tulips sits in the window of the subway car that Vladlena Igorivna, her mother and two young sons have slept in for more than three weeks. It’s a small reminder of the outside world in an otherwise nearly entirely subterranean life.
Trips up the escalators for fresh air are rare, and brief. Their eyes, so used to their new dim surroundings, hurt in the sunlight. Her sons Nazar, 6, and Makar, 3, are scared of being outside.
“The kids hear the bombs go off and they want to come down again,” Igorivna, 31, explained. “Every day I want to go out for a walk, but I can’t. I just want to go home.”
The entire story is inspiring and sad at the same time, journalism at its finest. Read the whole thing here.