Nepali Samaritans in Russia-Ukraine war: How a non-resident Nepali is helping other Nepalis affected by war

Surendra Shrestha, 45, a non-resident Nepali settled in Hungary says ‘we are Nepali at heart. We are always available when Nepali people are in crisis or in difficult situations’.

Surendra Shrestha (R) with Nepali students who fled to Hungary from Ukraine.

NL Today

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: I came to Hungary some 16 years ago. I came here to study. Later, I got a lucrative job and decided to settle here.

Following the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine, Nepalis from countries that share borders with Ukraine remained on alert. Nepali Embassy in Germany coordinated the efforts. Friends in Slovakia, Romania and Poland are also working their best to ensure that no Nepali nationals are helpless at the time of crisis.

Last week, the Embassy of Nepal in Berlin provided helpline numbers to Nepali citizens in Ukraine. The embassy gave my name as the contact person in Hungary. After the formal announcement from the embassy, I have been receiving dozens of calls and queries.

[Related: Nepali embassy in Berlin provides helpline numbers to Nepali citizens in Ukraine]

We are in contact with friends from Slovakia, Romania and Poland to ensure that Nepalis in need get support. Though we [those working as rescue task force members] have not met each other in person, we are virtually connected, and we are doing our best to make coordinated efforts to help Nepalis suffering from the war. We have a strong network and we are committed to the cause of assisting fellow Nepalis in every possible way.

Personally, I believe that a Nepali should always be available to support another Nepali. This is our duty to our motherland. We are a Nepali at heart. We are always available when Nepali people are in crisis or in difficult situations.

Ukraine shares the longest border with Poland. So, many Nepali nationals are coming to Poland. The problem is that Poland’s border points are overcrowded. So some of the Nepalis have been diverted to Slovakia and Hungary border points.

[Also Read: Russia-Ukraine war: How a Nepali student fled the war zone]

Some four Nepalis have arrived in Hungary so far. Some of them have already left Hungary, while others are in the process of leaving for Kathmandu. I have not been able to help as many fellow Nepalis as I wish to, but for me humanity and humanitarian support is what matters more than the number. 

I have struggled a lot in my life. I have also taken support from other Nepali nationals during my struggle days. Today, I am remembering those kind hearted people who taught me to be available when people are in need of support.

Official data shows that there are around 200 Nepalis in Ukraine. But we believe that there may be more. Many Nepalis might have been trapped in Kiev or other war-ravaged cities of Ukraine. We need to think about them.

Humanitarian values are very high in Europe. Hungarians are also providing support to those from Ukraine. They are providing free transport support and managing food and shelter. When I see their solidarity and support to war-affected people, I feel that humanity is alive and that the world also has people with kind hearts.

I have received calls from some Nepalis who have informed me that they are on the way to Hungary. I will be eagerly waiting to receive them. I frequently take updates of their whereabouts and once I get the clue I spread the message in my circle and I personally take the initiatives to help them.

We have closely observed the war and its effect. Words fail to describe how war has pushed people to suffering. In this hour of great crisis, humanity should prevail over inhumanity. Peace should prevail over war. 

I am hoping and praying that no Nepali will be hurt in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

(As told to Nepal Live Today by Surendra Shrestha from Hungary)