Many helpless African students, including Nigerians, have shared their unpalatable experiences at the border to Poland and other neighbouring countries.
The students told newsmen that while some of them were able to make it to the border, the long queues at the border caused inconveniences for some owing to the extreme weather conditions which resulted in hypothermia for some.
A Nigerian student identified as Obinna Victor said about 15 people at the Medyka border had reportedly died from hypothermia — a medical emergency which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it could produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
He said those who died had been identified as Africans and South Asians but names had yet to be identified to ascertain the specific nationality.
According to him, “Borders are congested at Polish side. Most of the individuals have been stuck there for more than 48hours outside without shelter or food during the winter. Some deaths are caused by excessive cold hypothermia.
“Most of the deaths are occurring at the Medyka border. The place is congested and officials can’t just sort out everyone at the same time. I was at the Medyka border but due to the situation there, I have moved to Uzhhorod city to stay.
“Medyka border is a death trap. People walking 20km under the cold weather towards the border; it’s standstill and more thousands of people keep coming daily and little movement there.”
Giving an update on the conditions in the war-torn country, another commentator, Kal Ross noted, “Quite a few reports of people hungry and cold (freezing) in various locations in Ukraine.
”Main locations where there seem to be problems: Kyiv – People need transport out and potential risk from rockets and shell fire.
“Lviv – People need transport. Sumy — close to the Russian border and far from alternative exit points (could do with somebody looking into options to get to safety from this location – Is it safe to enter Russia?).
“Some disturbing reports of people dying of hypothermia; a small number of reports of violence towards those trying to flee.
“There is strong media interest in this now, so that seems to be helping and anecdotally at least…Ukrainians might have been told to behave themselves on the world stage. As well as the officials of neighbouring states. The more we can highlight the issue…the safer our comrade sisters and brothers will hopefully be.
“Few reports of people who have gone missing from Medyka Ukraine/polish border. South of Poland is home to some of the more extreme racism in the country as I recall.
“We are still trying to get those not yet evacuated to fill in our form, so that we can work towards streamlining the chat group chaos and track people’s cases in a more ordered manner.