ON August 23rd, in response to the request by Bilenkivska village council in Zaporizkyi District of Zaporizhzhia Region (a territorial community with the population of around 9 thousand individuals, which has received almost 1 500 IDPs), ADRA Ukraine has launched social buses as part of the GFFO project supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, Aktion Deutschland Hilft and ADRA Germany.
As of today, two social bus routes are operated in the community:
– Bilenke — Mariivka — Novoserhiivka — Smoliane — Zaporizhzhia (and return trip);
– Chervonodniprovka — Bilenke — Lysohirka — Kanivske — Zaporizhzhia (and return trip).
The purpose of this initiative is to support residents of communities in Zaporizhzhia Region located in the immediate vicinity to the frontline. For example, Chervonodniprovka village is situated only 15 km away from the line of contact. Due to frequent shellfire and unstable security situation, the village has almost no connection with the outer world: no power supply, no mobile or Internet network, which makes it impossible even to call an ambulance or emergency services in case of need (in order to access the mobile network, locals have to walk 2-3 km up the hill, which is almost impossible task for elderly individuals); hospitals/clinics, pharmacies and groceries are all closed.
Also, as a result of Kakhovka HPP explosion, locals have lost access to the centralized water supply (now the potable water is delivered to the village once a week).
Besides that, access to the village is even more challenging because of the lack of road pavement and by the fact that the route itself is deemed to be quite dangerous. This is the reason why public transportation system is not available here, and commercial carriers refuse to operate in the area.
Still, thanks to the implemented social bus programme, residents of communities located in the immediate vicinity to the frontline, once again have a chance to access all necessary administrative and healthcare services. They also finally can buy food, medicines, potable water and other most essential supplies in the city of Zaporizhzhia. Most people staying in the frontline areas are mostly elderly individuals, who otherwise would not be able to reach the city.
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to freely travel to the city few times a week. For me, it’s a real miracle and surprise. It’s really challenging to survive under these conditions, but now you have a gave us glimpse of hope for the better future”, one of the local men said while travelling from Chervonodniprovka.