• Thursday, October 06, 2022

EUROPE

Sewa International evacuates 467 Africans from Ukraine

Evacuees stand under a destroyed bridge as they flee the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on March 7, 2022. (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

SEWA INTERNATIONAL, a Houston-based Indian-American non-profit body, has evacuated 467 African students from Ukraine’s Sumy amidst a Russian military offensive.

Sewa volunteers coordinated the evacuation efforts responding to a request by Shina Alege, the Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine, the organisation said in a statement.

Nigeria’s minister for foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyema thanked Sewa International Europe in his tweet for “their amazing facilitation and coordination”.

He also thanked the Ukrainian government for providing buses.

Sewa Europe is continuing its efforts to help stranded people affected by the war in Ukraine and evacuated 367 from Nigeria and another 100 from Namibia, Zambia and South Africa, from Sumy on Tuesday (8), the organisation said.

Sewa Europe volunteers received the request on Friday (5) from the ambassador and worked closely with the Sumy State University coordinators, Sumy city administration and the Nigerian Student representative, Moses Fehintola.

The students were taken by buses from Sumy to the Romanian border where they are expected to board flights to their countries

We really thank Ambassador Shina Alege for providing Sewa an opportunity to serve these students who were stuck in Sumy and facing danger,” Sewa volunteers Nilesh Solanki from the UK, Divyang Pandya from Norway and Heramb Kulkarni from Finland said over a WhatsApp call.

Sewa International volunteers in Europe have helped nearly 1,200 individuals since the war started.

Moret than 100 Sewa volunteers are working within Ukraine and 50 volunteers are working along the border assisting people to cross the border. So far, Sewa has helped stranded people from 12 nations.

Sewa helplines continue to receive calls from stranded people and 350 volunteers are involved in answering the helplines and arranging food, shelter, transportation and other types of help in various countries including Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, the UK and Germany.

Sewa is receiving support and cooperation from many religious organisations such as ISKCON and Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and citizens in bordering countries.

Volunteers from ISKCON and BAPS are working shoulder to shoulder with Sewa volunteers in serving food, providing shelter and in reaching out to people who need help, the statement added.

(PTI)

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