Indian student Himanshu Yadav, 20, hugs his mother Shudesh, after arriving at Indira Gandhi International Airport. File/Reuters
India's Defence Ministry has issued survival guidelines for Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine, especially Kharkiv, while warning them of aerial raids and drone attacks.
The ministry also told stranded Indian citizens to learn a few sentences in Russian language, such as telling people they were students from India.
"Here are the sentences in Russian: 'Ya student iz Indii (I am a student from India)', 'Ya nekombatant (I am a non-combatant)', 'Pazhalusta Pamagite (please, help me)'," the ministry said in advisory for Indian nationals in Ukraine's Kharkiv about potentially dangerous and difficult situations to be expected.
This advisory, prepared by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, warns about aerial raids, missile attacks, artillery shelling, small arms and gunfire, grenade explosions and 'Molotov cocktails', including by local people/militia.
It also warned of building collapse, falling debris, internet jamming, lack of electricity and food and water, exposure to freezing temperature, psychological trauma, feeling of panic, injuries and lack of medical support, as well as lack of transportation, and coming face-to-face with armed fighters and military personnel.
Providing ground rules and things to do, it asked nationals to compile and share information with fellow Indians, remain mentally strong and do not panic.
"Organise yourselves in small groups/squads of ten Indian students/within that organise a buddy/pair system/nominate a coordinator and a deputy coordinator in each group of ten persons," said the ministry advisory, adding that their presence and whereabouts must always be known to their buddy and small group coordinator.
The ministry also told Indian nationals to make a Whatsapp group, compile details, names, address, mobile numbers and contacts in India and share geolocation on WhatsApp with control rooms in the Embassy or in New Delhi.
It asked them to update information every eight hours, keep frequent head count every eight hours, and group, and squad coordinators must report their location to control rooms and helpline numbers.
The advisory also stressed that they must avoid stepping out from their bunker, basement, or shelter at all times.
• "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, or downtown areas. Turn around street corners in urban areas with great caution," it said.
• "Do not go to downtown and crowded areas. Do not join local protesters or militia. Refrain from commenting on social media. Don't pick up weapons or any unexploded ammunition/shells," it said.
The ministry also advised them not to take pictures/selfies with military vehicles, troops, soldiers, checkposts and militia.
• "Do not try and film live combat situations. In the event of warning sirens, take immediate shelter wherever possible. If you are in the open, lie flat on your stomach and cover your head with your backpack," it said.
• "Avoid unstable/damaged buildings and be mindful of falling/flying debris. Stay away from glass windows to avoid injury from flying glass during explosions or gunfire," it said.
The ministry also advised they should not consume alcohol and refrain from substance abuse.
• "Do not wear wet socks to avoid chilblains/frostbite. Wherever possible, remove your shoes and dry your socks and other wet belongings," said the ministry said.
Indians were asked to keep ready a small kit of essential items on persons or at hand round the clock, with the emergency kit containing passport, ID cards, essential medication/life-saving drugs, torch, matchbox, lighter, candles, cash, energy bars, power banks, water, first-aid kit, headgear, muffler, gloves, warm jacket and warm socks and a comfortable pair of shoes.
• "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 and WhatsApp group," the advisory said.
Indians were also asked to:
• Delete all unnecessary apps in mobile, limit conversations to low volume, and audio mode to conserve battery life.
• "Pack minimum personal belongings (other than the emergency kit) preferably in small backpacks suitable for long treks and walking," said the ministry.
• Be ready to move under instructions at short notice, do not carry large bags to avoid slowing down, fatigue and crowding, it said.
"If stopped by military checkpost or by police/armed personnel/militia – cooperate/ obey/raise your hands with open palms facing forward above your shoulders/remain polite/provide necessary information/contact the control room/helpline when possible without confrontation," it said.Indo-Asian News Servi
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