DR MURUGA Raj Rajathurai, a Malaysian doctor, was in Warsaw, Poland, when he volunteered to work as a medical volunteer at a shelter for Ukrainian refugees.
He had spent 11 days volunteering at Warsaw Central Station, providing medical care to thousands of Ukrainians who had crossed into Poland to flee the Russian bombardment in their homeland.
Following the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict, Dr Muruga said he was concerned for the safety of his three children and his brother’s two children, all of whom are students at the Medical University of Warsaw, so he decided to travel to Poland on March 3 to be with them.
“After making sure my children were safe, my son informed me that there were many Ukrainian refugees who were starting to come to the Warsaw Central Station to seek shelter.
“At that instant, I decided I could render my services; and served as a medical volunteer there from March 8 to 19,” the 55-year-old general practitioner at a polyclinic in Johor told Bernama.
Dr Muruga, the president-elect of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), said it was heartbreaking to see how refugees, particularly children, were separated from their families to cross into Poland with only a few belongings.
“Many of them left Ukraine and crossed the border to seek refuge in Poland, leaving their fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands back home. There is no communication between them,” he said, adding that many had fled without any personal documents or medications that they depended on.
At the centre, at least 1,000 refugees received medical care daily. As a result, he said volunteers at the centre, including himself and his medical team, had done their best to provide as much care and round-the-clock medical attention to those in need as possible.
Dr Muruga said he was also humbled by Polish citizens’ humanitarian efforts and compassion in assisting Ukrainian refugees in their country.
He said his children are also doing their part in helping to raise money for the refugees.