Seventeen Ghanaian students who fled the ongoing war in Ukraine yesterday arrived back home to reunite with their families.
Arriving in separate flights by Qatar and Turkish Airlines at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra, they are part of about 527 Ghanaians who have so far safely crossed the Ukrainian border to neighbouring Poland, Moldova, Hungary and Czech Republic.
Upon their arrival at the KIA at 6:25 am and 7:30 a.m. respectively, the students were taken through the mandatory COVID-19 testing after which their results were handed over to them.
The students were received at the airport by a delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong and the Deputy Minister of Information, Fatima Abubakar.
Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that their colleagues who were still at Ukraine and those who have moved to other neighbouring countries were evacuated.
He commended them for exhibiting bravery and perseverance in the dire situation they found themselves.
Addressing some parents and guardians in Accra yesterday of Ghanaian students who were yet to arrive in Ghana from Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, underscored the need for Ghanaian citizens to register with the Ghanaian Embassies at other countries when they travelled abroad.
This, she said would help the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to locate and provide them the necessary assistance during emergency situations as being experienced in Ukraine.
She explained that the Ministry was currently challenged in providing relief to some of the students stranded in Ukraine, because most had not registered with the embassies abroad.
Despite the seeming challenge, she indicated that the Ministry was working with international organisations, such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to help fast track the return of the stranded students in neighbouring countries.
In an interview with the leader of the students, Nana Agyemang Kwakye, he commended the government for the effort in trying to help facilitate the return of Ghanaians living in Ukraine.
He explained that the students have had to go through a lot of difficulty in terms of crossing the border to other countries.
He, therefore, called on the government to do all it could to ensure that all Ghanaian students still living in Ukraine and those who had moved to neighbouring countries were successfully brought home and reunited with their families.
He urged for calm among students and parents as the government through the Ministry continued to work in collaboration with other countries to aid in their return.
One of the parents of the returning students, Major Dr Ebenezer Kwakye Agyemang (rtd), who spoke to the Ghanaian Times lauded the government for its role in helping to facilitate the return of their children from Ukraine.
He, however, entreated government to speed up with the process as there were more students and Ghanaian citizens who were stranded at Ukraine and other neighbouring countries.
Some of the parents raised varied concerns in relation to government’s efforts in facilitating the return of the students such as the transportation, accommodation and the measures put in place to ensure that the students continue with their education when they return.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS & BENJAMIN ARCTON-TETTEY