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 college when the Russian navy began bombarding the Ukrainian capital.

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

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

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

“The warfare out of the blue modified my household’s targets and we instantly began serious about how we may escape,” Abdi advised Al Jazeera by cellphone from Germany, the place he finally 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 had been jammed and drivers had 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.

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 blissful to be in a protected European nation.

However simply seven years later, he was attempting to flee warfare 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 had been lastly in a position to refill and be part of 1000’s of others escaping by street.

“On our technique to the Polish border, we had been fearful of doable Russian navy air strikes. I used to be continually pondering of the uncertainty surrounding our future,” mentioned Abdi.

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

After a three-day journey which he describes as tedious and stuffed 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 warfare. The identical warfare devastated my second dwelling in Europe, and I’m once more in search of refuge in Kassel, Germany.”

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

Which may be tough, nevertheless.

In March, President Joe Biden mentioned 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 might be acquired by non-Ukrainian refugees affected by the warfare.

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

In response to the UN Refugee Company (UNHCR), on the finish of 2021, some 5,000 refugees in Ukraine wanted humanitarian help.

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

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

“It’s unlucky that many refugees have once more been affected by the identical cause they left their homeland, and are nonetheless in search of protected place to dwell. It will likely be tough for them to combine with Germans given the tradition distinction and the European nations’ reluctance in receiving refugees [who are not Ukrainian nationals] now.”

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