Kangpokpi, March 03 2022: Among hundreds of Indians stranded in Ukraine’s eastern state of Sumy, three Manipur MBBS students have been spending most of their time inside a bunker since the Russian invasion.
The three MBBS students-Seiginhao Khongsai (24), son of Jangkholal Khongsai from Ng Phainom village in Saikul, Kangpokpi district; Jameson Khumanthem from Heirok, Thoubal district and Sadananda Yumnam from Canchipur, Imphal West District, while thanking Chief Minister N Biren Singh for contacting them, fervently appealed to the State Government and authorities concerned for swift evacuation of stranded Indians including them in the eastern State of Ukraine where no evacuation plan has been initiated till date.
Living in a state of fear and anxiety, the three medical students who live in a combat soldier-like situation have been spending most of their time inside a bunker, conveyed that most of their essential needs are drying up and are in the risk of starvation within a week’s time.
The trio who are pursuing their second year MBBS course at Sumy State University in the eastern State of Ukraine bordering Russia are currently staying in the University Hostel no 3 .
According to the trio, evacuation has been going on in the western Ukraine which is approximately 800 km away from Sumy which is close to Russia, and it is too difficult to go to the western States since all types of transportation have been halted and finding a private vehicle or driver to transport them is near impossible.
Seiginhao Khongsai narrated their miseries and grievances and sought urgent intervention of the Government of India, Government of Manipur, and the Indian Embassy in Ukraine for speedy evacuation of stranded Indians in the eastern State of Ukraine.
He said, “Amidst our hard times, we were extremely happy and motivated when our Chief Minister N Biren Singh personally contacted us and took stock of the situation,” adding that this enlivened their spirit.
He, however, said that no evacuation plans are in place so far for the stranded Indians in the eastern State and the same is making them restless.
He continued that they are emotional on hearing the death of two Indians and felt abandoned, helpless and vulnerable while adding, “we are longing to be back home and stay safe with our family” .
“We lie down, hide and even sometimes we sleep the whole night inside the bunker restlessly”, he said before adding “we have almost lost all hope by now” .
Sadananda Yumnam said, “We fear to venture out as firing, airstrike, bombardment could happen anytime but we are compelled to go out and fetch our essential needs which too is very difficult to get.
“We are extremely happy that those back in our hometown pray for our safety and safe evacuation through our Chief Minister but the situation here is worsening day by day and there is no plan of evacuation till date in the eastern State of Ukraine”, he added.
He continued, “evacuation has been going on in the western State of Ukraine but we are left with no option but to stay in Sumy with lots of difficulties” .
According to the trio, they could get only two packets of bread, one for the morning and another one for the evening.
They also said that if they are not evacuated within a week there is a high possibility that they would starve since most of the shops have been closed and their essential needs would go out of stock very soon.
They strongly appealed to the Government of India, the Government of Manipur, and the Indian Embassy in Ukraine to initiate early evacuation in the larger interest of stranded Indians in the bordering eastern State.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, who along with three other Union Ministers are overseeing the evacuation process was seen talking with the stranded Indians.
He said that he will not leave until all Indians are evacuated.
The Union Minister, however, said that right now in a war zone eastern States of Ukraine there are some compulsions with regards to evacuation as even Indian Embassy’s staff could not get in there owing to firing, bombardment, etc.
He continued that the circumstances in the eastern States are very challenging at present but still, “we are making all efforts to evacuate all stranded Indians from Ukraine” .