A US-based charitable non-profit organisation here has launched a helpline to help evacuate international students stranded in war-ravaged Ukraine by arranging for transportation to the nearest border check post and making arrangements for food and other essential supplies for their journey.
Sewa International already has over 4,000 students registered in its helpline, with its volunteers making concerted efforts to help evacuate another 400, according to a statement by the organisation on Monday.
Explosions and gunfire were heard in embattled cities in Ukraine on Monday as Russia's invasion met with stiff resistance.
Sewa Europe, an independent partner organisation, and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) are currently working in ten Ukrainian cities.
Sewa International has also released USD 10,000 for the Ukrainian relief efforts and started a Facebook fundraising campaign to help people who are caught in this humanitarian crisis, the release said.
The messages and videos we are getting from the war zone show the fear, anxiety, and danger people are facing as they run to safety. As the global Sewa network rises to face this challenge, I request people to support Sewa International in this rescue effort," Arun Kankani, President, Sewa International, USA said.
"The war between Russia and Ukraine has affected all people in the region and caused serious distress in a world that is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sewa International in the USA, and HSS volunteers in Europe, the US, and India are receiving hundreds of messages seeking help from people who are stuck in the war zone," he explained.
Sewa International helped a group of 150 students on February 26 to travel from Vinnitsa to Chernovtsy by bus. At Chernovtsy, Sewa provided them shelter, food, and transport for their onward journey to the Romanian border, the release said.
According to official estimates, about 18,000 Indian students are studying in universities across Ukraine. Due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, they are currently stranded, facing a severe shortage of food, and are in dire need of transport and shelter.
The Indian Embassy in Kyiv is advising these students on how to reach the country's western borders to reach Poland, Romania, or Hungary from where they can board Air India flights specially operated by the Indian government to reach India.
According to latest information, a total of 1,396 Indian nationals have been brought back from Ukraine in six evacuation flights.