Somali family flees Ukraine, becoming refugees twice over | Russia-Ukraine war

On February 24, a cloudy Thursday, Mohamud Abdi was making ready for work in Kyiv whereas his spouse Zamzam Hussein was getting their seven-year-old daughter prepared for varsity when the Russian army began bombarding the Ukrainian capital.

As explosions rang out, Abdi, a grocer, and his household stayed of their condominium. They felt nervous, considering how the dreaded battle would unfold.

Understanding Russia had launched an all-out battle, they mentioned evacuation plans.

Abdi hurriedly packed their luggage and raced down the steps of the 14-storey residential constructing.

“The battle all of the sudden modified my household’s goals and we instantly began excited about how we may escape,” Abdi informed Al Jazeera by telephone from Germany, the place he in the end ended up after escaping Ukraine.

After they left their constructing for the closest bus station, they noticed that everybody else was additionally attempting to flee.

The town’s roads have been jammed and drivers have been repeatedly honking their horns.

Abdi, a Somali refugee who fled the armed battle in Somalia along with his spouse, arrived in Ukraine in 2015 through Ethiopia and Russia.

Abdi
Mohamud Abdi labored as a journalist in Somalia however fled the battle there to reach in Ukraine in 2015 [Courtesy: Mohamud Abdi]

The 31-year-old, who had labored as a journalist within the East African nation, was completely happy to be in a secure European nation.

However simply seven years later, he was attempting to flee battle as soon as once more.

In Kyiv, the minibus the household tried to flee in ran out of gas. There was a way of panic at filling stations as automobiles lined up for petrol to proceed their journeys to western Ukraine, close to the nation’s European borders.

Hours later, they have been lastly capable of replenish and be a part of 1000’s of others escaping by highway.

“On our method to the Polish border, we have been terrified of doable Russian army air strikes. I used to be always considering of the uncertainty surrounding our future,” stated Abdi.

He by no means imagined he may face the identical destiny in Europe and has been repeatedly reminded of his bleakest occasions in Somalia.

After a three-day journey which he describes as tedious and filled with fears, they arrived on the Ukraine-Polish border the place they met refugees from the Center East, Asia and Africa.

“The rationale I left my nation within the first place was resulting from battle. The identical battle devastated my second residence in Europe, and I’m once more in search of refuge in Kassel, Germany.”

The younger household now lives in a studio condominium within the central German metropolis and hopes to achieve the USA.

That could be troublesome, nevertheless.

In March, President Joe Biden stated the US would settle for as many as 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.

However it stays unclear how such a course of would work.

Washington’s Western allies have additionally introduced extra billions of {dollars} of humanitarian assist to Ukrainian refugees in Europe, however it isn’t clear whether or not that assist may very well be obtained by non-Ukrainian refugees affected by the battle.

Earlier than Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was a vacation spot and transit nation for asylum seekers attempting to enter Europe – and lots of have been from war-torn nations in Africa, Asia and the Center East.

In keeping with the UN Refugee Company (UNHCR), on the finish of 2021, some 5,000 refugees in Ukraine wanted humanitarian assist.

Abdullahi Wa’eys, a former refugee from Somalia who now advocates for asylum seekers in Kassel, is busy welcoming individuals fleeing Ukraine to his adopted residence.

“It’s not the most effective time to be a refugee in Europe,” he informed Al Jazeera.

“It’s unlucky that many refugees have once more been affected by the identical motive they left their place of origin, and are nonetheless in search of secure place to stay. Will probably be troublesome for them to combine with Germans given the tradition distinction and the European nations’ reluctance in receiving refugees [who are not Ukrainian nationals] now.”