Family heaves a sigh of relief as med student returns from Ukraine

No state representative in Delhi to welcome returnee, says Ishika

Shillong, Feb 27: The family of 22-year-old Ishika Debnath from Laitumkhrah locality is joyous after their eldest daughter’s return from Ukraine on Sunday afternoon.

Ishika, who is the first student from Meghalaya to come back from Ukraine, is a second-year MBBS student of Bukovanian State Medical University in Chernovtsi in Ukraine.


Narrating her ordeal and how she returned from the war-ravaged country, Ishika said their group of 240 students, the second batch of evacuees, were accompanied by an ambulance and four police vehicles.

“We were in eastern Ukraine and we had to travel 7km to reach the Romania border. After we were dropped in three buses, we had to walk 3-4km to reach the border in Romania. There was a petrol pump and we had to sit the whole night there before the authorities from Romania fetched us,” she said.

Though the university was far from the war zone, the anxiety and agony were not less.

Ishika said she was disappointed that after reaching Delhi nobody from the state government came to meet though calls were made to the helpline number.

Her father Shankar Debnath called up the helpline number (9863257261) twice but in vain. Later, a call came from the number 8375952158 and the caller apologised for the communication gap.

“I found representatives from Assam, other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka welcoming the returnees and I was alone anxiously waiting for someone,” Ishika said.

But the family is thankful for the support of the Indian Embassy and the government for evacuating the distressed. Ishika’s younger sister, Rittika, said she had to console their parents all the time as news flashed on the television.

“We are grateful for the help from the Indian Embassy as the officials were sent all the way to Romania to pick us up,” she said.

According to Ishika, students came to know about the unrest in January but they were not allowed to come back.

“I booked the ticket on February 17 but the authorities said there was no need to go back. I was in a dilemma and I cancelled the ticket. When it was more serious, I booked the ticket on February 26 but on February 24, we came to know that bombing started and tension mounted as the airport was attacked. We did not know what to do and the University authorities told us to be ready for evacuation. In the first trip, my name was not shortlisted but in the second list I was there,” Ishika said.

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