New Delhi: The government on Thursday urgently appealed to Indian nationals in Ukraine’s Kharkiv to fill up a form to expedite evacuation.
Indian nationals in Ukraine may have to face a “potentially dangerous situation” including aerial raids, aircraft or missile attacks, explosions and face to face situations with armed fighters, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday in a detailed advisory listing out do’s and don’ts and survival guidelines for them.
According to the Ministry, the dangerous situation also includes artillery shelling, gunfire, grenade explosions, building collapse, falling of debris, internet jamming, lack of electricity/food/water, exposure to freezing temperature, psychological trauma, feeling of panic etc.
On Wednesday, India had issued a series of advisories asking citizens in Kharkiv to “immediately” leave the city by 6 pm local time and reach three nearby towns – Pisochyn, Babai or Bezlyudivka.
In a fresh tweet, the Embassy said, “All Indian Nationals who are in KHARKIV excluding PISOCHYN, please fill up details contained in the form on an urgent basis.”
Listing the ground rules or “do’s” for stranded Indians in Ukraine, the Ministry asked them to compile and share information with fellow Indians, remain mentally strong and not to panic, organise in small groups/squads of ten Indian students/within that organise buddy/pair system, nominate a coordinator and a deputy coordinator in each group of ten persons.
Further, the advisory asked Indians to make their presence and whereabouts always known to their friends and group coordinator.
“Make a WhatsApp group, compile details, names, address, mobile numbers and contact in India/share geolocation on WhatsApp with control rooms in Embassy or in New Delhi, update information every eight hours, keep frequent head count (every eight hours), group or squad coordinators to report their location to control rooms/helpline numbers,” the advisory said.
It further asked that only the group coordinator or deputy coordinator should communicate with local authorities/Embassy or control rooms in India to conserve phone batteries.
In the section of Survival Guidelines, the Ministry asked Indians to keep a small kit of essential items at hand round-the-clock. The emergency kit should contain passport, ID Card, essential medication, life-saving drugs, torch, matchbox, lighter, candles, cash, energy bars, power banks, water, first-aid kit, headgear, muffler, gloves, warm jacket, warm socks and a comfortable pair of shoes, as available.
“Conserve and share food and water, avoid full meals, eat smaller portions to extend the rations. Stay hydrated. If you find yourself in an open area/field, melt snow to make water. If available, keep one large garbage bag per person to use as ground matting/ cover against exposure to rain/ cold/storm/during forced march/evacuation. If injured or ill – intimate condition and seek advice from Control Room, helpline or WhatsApp,” the advisory said.
It further asked Indians to delete all unnecessary apps on their mobiles, limit conversations to low volume to conserve battery. “Stay indoors, preferably in designated safe zones, basements, bunkers. If you find yourself in the streets, then walk on the sides of the roads, close to cover of buildings, crouch low to avoid being targeted, do not cross streets, avoid city centres, downtown areas. Turn around street corners in urban areas with great caution. In each designated group, keep a white flag or white cloth for waving.”
The advisory further asked Indians to learn two or three sentences in Russian (like we are students, we are not combatants, please do not harm us, we are from India). It advised Indians to raise hands with open palms facing forward above shoulders and to cooperate and obey in case stopped by military check-post, by police, or armed personnel.
Listing the “don’ts”, the advisory said: “Avoid stepping out from your bunker or basement at all times, do not go to downtown/crowded areas, do not join local protestors or militia, refrain from commenting on social media, don’t pick up weapons or any unexploded ammunition/shells, do not take pictures/selfies with military vehicles/troops/soldiers/check posts/militia, do not try and film live combat situations.”
The advisory asked Indians to take immediate shelter in the event of warning sirens, “If you are in the open, lie flat on your stomach and cover your head with your backpack. Do not light fires in enclosed spaces. Do not consume alcohol/refrain from substance abuse.
“Do not wear wet socks to avoid frostbite. Wherever possible, remove your shoes and dry your socks and other wet belongings. Avoid unstable/damaged buildings and be mindful of falling debris, stay away from glass windows to avoid injury from flying glass during explosions or gunfire,” it said.
The Ministry advisory asked Indian citizens to not alarm the armed personnel by suddenly reaching for things/ documents in your pockets unless told to do so. Do not engage in sudden or jerky movements when confronted by armed personnel, it said.
India Blooms News Service