For the past two weeks, since the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the chaos that has ensued, many lost contact with their loved ones in the regions under attack.
Social media in Lebanon witnessed many posts of people reporting not knowing about their relatives residing in Ukraine, amid demands to get the Lebanese nationals back to Lebanon safely.
One of the missing Lebanese nationals was Mohammed Fakhoury, a native of Sidon, residing in Kyiv, who was officially reported missing on Thursday night, after the Russian forces entered the city of Irpen.
A relative of Fakhoury told a regional news outlet that he had lost contact with his relatives since Friday after the shelling intensified, indicating that Fakhoury was last heard of from Irpen near Kyiv.
It is only on Tuesday that news from Mohammed reached his family through a person who saw him in a shelter in Irpen. The family was reassured that Mohammed is alive and well, other than being in a shelter without electricity or internet connections.
The Russian siege of Kyiv and control of its entrances continue to cause harm among Ukrainian and foreign nationals.
Many Lebanese students in Ukraine have made it safely to Beirut. However, many were left behind for lacking safe and accessible passageways as roads have been trapped by shelling and bridges destroyed.
Those who remained are stuck in improvised and unequipped shelters, suffering from lack of food and heating, and electricity outages.
According to the head of the Higher Relief Authority in Lebanon, Mohamed Khair, all Lebanese nationals who had made it to the bordering countries of Poland and Romania had been evacuated.
“We are in contact with nationals who have not yet been able to leave Ukrainian territory. they are in a sensitive situation and we have contact with them,” he added.
Lebanese officials also commented that “the state will continue to work until the last Lebanese person in Ukraine, Poland or Romania is evacuated to return them to Lebanon.”
From the start of the invasion, Lebanese students in Ukraine found themselves in harsh circumstances in the cities where they reside.
Those who were able to escape the shelling had to face the danger of the roads to make it to Poland, some by train and some by foot for long hours. Their challenges didn’t end at reaching the border as the crossing was also problematic amid the masses fleeing Ukraine.
Humanity wasn’t lost in the chaos of the war. Locals and Lebanese in Poland and Romania were many to mobilize themselves to help. Social media swarmed with posts offering assistance and lists of phone numbers to contact also circulated online.