Kerala students are stranded in eastern Ukraine due to dwindling supplies. Even as Russian soldiers draw in on Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and continue to bombard cities such as Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odessa, and Sumy, more than 15,000 Indian students remain trapped in bunkers and metro stations around the country, hoping to return home safely. The conditions are worsening and the fight between the two countries concluding.
They are concerned that evacuation will be more difficult in their situation; than in western Ukraine because the country shares an east-west border with Russia.
“I awoke to the sound of an explosion about 5 a.m. yesterday.” “I believed it was an airliner; but it turned out to be a missile,” Lakshmi Devi explains. Devi is from Kannur, Kerala, and is a third-year student at Kharkiv National Medical University in northeast Ukraine.
After the attack, students were told to leave their rooms or hostels and seek shelter. In bunkers, basements, or metro stations. Even though the temperature dropped to about -2 degrees Celsius, they faced the night inside a crowded subway station. Devi, other Kerala students, and a few Ukrainian nationals were among; the nine people who eventually transferred to a bunker with very limited food, water, and other amenities.
Despite the hazards outside, Devi says the group tries to visit their apartments or leave; the cramped location to get provisions.
“I could hear the last explosion about 30 minutes ago.” Everyone is afraid of death. We hear about war all the time, but we never imagined to be in such danger,” she adds.
Alternative arrangements for the evacuation of Indian nationals are being arranged; according to Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, because Ukraine‘s air space is restricted. While attempts are being made to relocate students through neighboring countries such as Poland or Romania, Devi’s group fears that this will mainly benefit individuals in the country’s western regions. Because Ukraine shares its eastern border with Russia, students in eastern Ukraine cannot be evacuated as readily as those in western Ukraine.
While their families are praying fervently at home, the students are concerned; about losing communication in the event of a network breakdown or the inability to charge their phones.
The students have appealed to the authorities to make plans for their evacuation from the waterfront; since resources are rapidly decreasing, the temperature is dropping, and they are becoming physically weaker.