NEW DELHI: Together we can sail through - say several Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) who are reaching out to their alumni settled abroad to help the younger alumni and students stranded in foreign countries due to the COVID-19 situation.
Several IIT students, who were on semester exchange, internships and short term projects in various countries, are stranded due to lockdown restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The IITs have appealed the alumni to offer accommodation and other possible help to the stranded students.
"Six students from IIT Bombay, Madras, Delhi and Roorkee are currently stuck in Sweden where they went for semester exchange. They cannot come back due to international lockdown on travel. They are running out of money as well as accommodation.
"We requesting the alumni and friends of IITs in Sweden to help them the way they can," IIT Bombay Director, Subhasis Chaudhury, said in an email to the institute's alumni association.
In a social media post, Chaudhury, also appealed other IIT students stranded abroad to reach out to alumni but only when they really need it.
"Please note that since we will be depending on the benevolence of our alumni in different countries, send your request only when you really need it," he said.
The IIT Delhi's team for alumni affairs is also coordinating between the students stranded abroad and the alumni who can help them with accommodation.
"A large number of universities in the US and Europe have closed down and students may have been asked to vacate their dormitories. If you are struggling to find accommodation and facing problems, please write to us.
"We shall try to locate senior alumni close to you who may be willing to help you at this time," the institute had said in an advisory.
According to Sanjeev Sanghi, IIT's Dean of Alumni Affairs, "We have a big network of alumni abroad and they have also expressed the desire to help those who are stranded.
We have been coordinating between them so that our recent alumni or current students can stay with the older ones. This is a crucial time but together we can sail through."
Regular updates are shared by the IITs on their social media pages about information of students or alumni in help prompting the ones in the area to reach out to them.
Coronavirus deaths have surged past 1,60,000 worldwide with nearly a quarter of them in the United States.
In India, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 543 and the number of cases climbed to 17,265 in the country on Monday.
The country is in a lockdown since March 25.
The lockdown has been extended till May 3.