By: Staff Writer
International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah told the National Assembly on Tuesday that 64 Namibians had safely arrived in Poland, Romania, and Hungary from troubled Ukraine.
Fifty-six Namibians are in Poland, two in Hungary, one in Slovakia and five in Romania.
The minister further said based on the records from the embassy in Moscow, 114 Namibians are living in Ukraine, of which 93 are students; NSFAF funds 36, and 56 are privately funded.
Nandi-Ndaitwah revealed that Navachab Mine Company was providing support to Namibians in Poland.
The rest, she explained, are either working there, married to Ukrainian nationals or former students who opted to remain in Ukraine.
According to the minister, there are five Namibians in Romania and one student in Hungary.
She said the government put in motion the process to assist and repatriate those willing to come back home by contacting Ukraine’s neighbours to give free passes to Namibians to enable their repatriation.
“I am pleased to inform you that the following countries have accepted Namibian nationals, namely, Poland, Belarus, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania; to ensure the safe passage of the 114 Namibian nationals from Ukraine into their respective territories,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
She added that the government of Poland was the first to acknowledge the request hence the majority of Namibian nationals are currently there.
“Our student in Hungary is being taken care of by Mr Eric Molner, Namibia Honorary Counsel in that country, while in Romania are being taken care of by friends of Namibia,” she said.
She said they would ensure that the Namibians will be brought home safely in consultation with the NSFAF, higher education, finance, and home affairs ministries.
Her ministry, Nandi-Ndaitwah said, reached out to South Africa and Zambia to cooperate in this process because South Africa is the only SADC country with a diplomatic mission in Ukraine and Zambia has many students in Ukraine.
“We are working with them, with particular reference to Zambia. While South Africa has informed us that they have directed their Mission Ukraine to assist all African students where possible,” she said.
“Talking to our nationals who experience what happened in Ukraine, we notice that they are traumatised, and arrangements will be made on arrival home to ensure their professional services before they are reunited with their families.
“I cannot tell you when the first person will be arriving, but we are looking for a place to welcome them starting today. Poland has given foreign nationals 15 days, and we do not want to abuse their hospitality,” she said.
The minister said the government dispatched two officials to Poland to assist Namibians on arrival at the borders, and the Honorary Consul is hosting them.
Additionally, she said a Whatsapp group was created, where the international relations executive director enabled smooth and instant communication with the Namibians.
“We are appealing with those in contact with Namibian nationals stranded in Ukraine and social media users to encourage Namibians to find their way out of Ukraine to safety, as currently, it is extremely difficult to help them while there until the situation improves,” she said.