Indian flags on backpacks, students ready to escape | Bhopal News


BHOPAL: Ready to go – with all their documents, bottled water and packaged food – Indian students stranded in war-torn Ukraine are counting their breath until the evacuation order.
“We are ready. We have stuck Indian flag stickers on our bags so that we can be easily identified in case of any problem. We want to be identified as Indians,” one told TOI on Friday morning, asking not to be named because he didn’t want his parents to panic.
They foresee that they could be evacuated via Poland or Hungary. Travel light, that’s the advice. When it comes time to run, they may have to choose between their books and water bottles, they said.
“We came here to study, but now we have to learn how to fight fear and survive in a war zone,” said a stranded student from Madhya Pradesh, as daily life turned into a struggle.
Sleepless nights, raw nerves, citywide blackouts, ready to rush into a bomb shelter… This is what life is like for Indians stuck in war-torn Ukraine. Students as young as 19, who have only encountered violence on TV screens, are now caught up in Europe’s biggest war since World War II.
“I don’t think any of us have seen a real gun and now we are in the midst of missiles and bombs,” said first-year medical student Narendra Kumar.
“Can you imagine what it’s like to hear an air raid sound at midnight and students running here and there in panic? We live in fear and trauma,” Kumar said. “Last night all of a sudden the siren went off and we were told to run to the bomb shelters. We did, but we can’t stay in these shelters for long periods of time because they are not in good condition,” he added.
Everyone in Ukrainian cities, including foreign students, received maps showing bomb shelters and basements where they can take refuge. Until a few days before the Russian attack began, most people thought they would never have to use it. But things went downhill quickly and alarmingly. Most students have experienced sit-outs in air-raid shelters.
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