Friday, February 25, 2022

Malayali students stranded in Ukraine wait for flights home

Alappuzha: Malayali students studying in various regions of Ukraine are in misery after the Russian armed forces started shelling major cities of that country. Aswin Prasad, a native of  Kottamukal near Adoor in Pathanamthitta, is pursuing a final-year medical degree course at Kharkiv National Medical University. He said the situation seems risky.

“Now we are in the safe zone, but the Russian troops have started shelling and the sound of blasts is heard somewhere outside the city area. The hostel authorities advised us to remain inside the rooms with sufficient food and water,” he said.

“On Thursday morning, a few students who had got tickets on an Air India flight that reached Kyiv to travel to Delhi were inside the Igor Sikorsky International Airport when shelling started. They got stranded there. Later, Indian Embassy officials shifted them to the hostel of the embassy.

Another team that was on its way to Kyiv from Kharkiv — around 450-500km away — had to return to the college hostel by noon after the Ukrainian army prevented travel following heavy shelling in the capital city,” said Aswin. 

"We are doing the final year and waiting to complete the course. The seats on the Air India flights filled up immediately after the online booking started. Hence, we have reserved tickets on a chartered flight on February 26, but are now skeptical about the flight service in the coming days. The Indian Embassy advised us to continue in the same place where we are staying.” Elza, who studies at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University, said the situation is normal in her city.

“The hostel authorities advised us to take precautions. There are chances of power failure and disruption of drinking water supply. So, they asked us to stock up water. There is a small airport here and it is safe. The government can operate flights from the airport and evacuate people to India from here because the Kyiv airport has been closed following shelling,” she said. Alappuzha MP A M Ariff wrote a letter to Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar urging the Centre to arrange flights to bring back Indians stranded in Ukraine.

25/02/22 Biju E Paul/New Indian Express

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