'We spent whole night in underground metro station': TS, AP students in Ukraine long to return home

Anna is among the many students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana studying in Ukraine who are spending the night in bunkers and metro stations where they are told they will be "safer".

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  25 Feb 2022 1:14 PM GMT
We spent whole night in underground metro station: TS, AP students in Ukraine long to return home

Visakhapatnam: Anaina Anna, a medical student in Ukraine's VN Karazin National Medical University, took shelter in a metro station with around 300-400 others. "From 4 p.m on Thursday to 9 a.m on Friday, we spent the whole night in the underground metro station because it was told underground is safer than hostels," she said.

Anna is among the many students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana studying in Ukraine who are spending the night in bunkers and metro stations where they are told they will be "safer".



Anna told NewsMeter, "We heard loud sounds of bombs and fire three stops away from my hostel. The first attack yesterday was at 5 a.m and it drastically impacted the residential area. We were asked to stay underground till 8 a.m and today morning, we returned to our hostels."

After returning to their hostels at 9 a.m on Friday, the students had to wait to find another safe place because hostels are no longer a safe zone. "On the roads and malls, people were fighting for food and water. The situation is turning worse. We are unable to withdraw cash also. All we could do is call the helpline desk or share videos through social media," said another medical student from Ukraine.




Evacuation routes set up

The government of India and the Indian embassy are working to establish evacuation routes from Romania and Hungary. At present, teams are in place at checkpoints at the Chop-Zahony Hungarian border near Uzhhorod and the Porubne-Siret Romanian border near Chernivtsi. Indian nationals, especially students living close to the border checkpoints, were advised to depart first in an organized manner. Once the routes are operational, Indian nationals who have made their own transport arrangements have been asked to proceed to border checkpoints and remain in touch with the helpline numbers set up to help them cross the border.

Students have been asked to carry their passports, cash, preferably in US Dollar for any emergency expenses and other essentials, a COVID-19 double vaccination certificate if available, and a printout of the Indian flag that should be pasted prominently on their vehicles and buses while travelling.

When NewsMeter contacted the medical students at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University, they said that about 3,000 Indians, including 1,500 students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, have been told they will be evacuated to Romania. "We are packing our bags to, hopefully, return to India. We will be taken on buses. Once we reach Romania, we have been told that the government of India will arrange for free flights to India," said Gifty, a final-year medical student.

TS helpline desk

According to the directions of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, a helpline has been set up at Telangana Bhavan in New Delhi and the Secretariat in Hyderabad to help students and citizens of the state who are stranded in Ukraine.

State chief secretary Somesh Kumar held a teleconference with the principal secretary GAD Vikas Raj and resident commissioner, Telangana Bhavan, Gaurav Uppal on Friday to take stock of the situation. Mr. Kumar said they have received 75 calls so far. He said the state government is in constant touch with the Central external affairs ministry and is taking all steps to ensure the safety and security of the Telangana people. Efforts are also being made to ensure that all stranded persons are evacuated and they reach the state safely, he added.

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