Irish medical student, Racheal Diyaolu, is now on a treacherous two-day drive to flee Ukraine, having spent the past 12 days trapped amidst the ferocious fighting.
As of Monday morning Racheal, along with 8 others, have been travelling the length of the battle-scarred country to the Moldovan border, where she hopes to get a flight back home to Ireland.
The nineteen-year-old Carlow native has been evacuated from the hostel where she was staying in Sumy, a city in north-eastern Ukraine, just 30 miles from Russia. Due to its proximity to the border, Sumy has seen some of the most violent fighting in the country.
“It’s been so hectic here, there’s no buses or trains running anymore.”” said Racheal.
The city is approximately 640 miles from Poland. Many of its citizens, including hundreds of international students, are unable make this trip.
Racheal’s unlikely rescuers are two Scottish landscapers, Gary Taylor and Joe McCarthy, who travelled to Ukraine on Sunday the 27th of February, to bring fleeing civilians to safety. The gardeners are documenting their journey on their TikTok page ‘ready2rocklandscaping’, an account that was formerly utilised to advertise their business.
The British volunteers were contacted by Racheal and her sister Christiana through social media after days of trying to get the Irish Governments attention. Christiana, a student at Trinity College, took to twitter to thank Fianna Fail Senator Timmy Dooley for being “very supportive” while condemning the Department of Foreign Affairs for not reaching out in her sister’s time of need.
“Disappointingly the Department of Foreign Affairs haven’t contacted myself or my family about the issue,” said Christiana, mentioning Minister Simon Coveney by name.
In another tweet she shared that “the Polish Embassy have offered to help” Racheal in exiting Ukraine. Meanwhile the Diyaolu household have heard “nothing at all yet from the Irish Government,” said Christiana.
The news of Racheal’s evacuation comes as a relief to her family. The Sumy State University student has been living in harrowing conditions for the past twelve days, since the invasion began.
“On Thursday there was a bombing near my hostel. So, we had to go to our bunker and stay there,” Racheal told The College View.
“It caused the electric lines to be completely cut off. Electricity, water; we had none of that, in my hostel anyway,” as she detailed her recent living situation, a far cry from her family home in Carlow town.
“I’m trying to stay positive,” said Racheal “we are just hoping everything goes well.”
21-year-old Christiana praised her younger sister’s bravery on twitter.
“I’m a super super proud big sister! So close to having her home,” said Christiana, echoing the hopes of millions of people across the world, who’s loved ones are trapped in this violent war.