Thousands of Migrants Rushing to Hungary

2015-08-24 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Thousands of desperate migrants – many of them Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing bloody conflicts have spent the night in overcrowded refugee camps in Serbia after they crammed into trains and buses in neighboring Macedonia following clashes with police. That they are trying to enter Hungary where even the capital claims to be overwhelmed by the influx of refugees. 

Listen to Stephen Bos's report: 

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the migrant crisis in Macedonia needs to be dealt with without delay. Speaking in Prague, Fabius said foreign and interior ministers of European Union member states will likely have to discuss the issue as the number of migrants coming through Macedonia is on the rise. 

After thousands of rainsoaked refugees rushed past baton-wielding Macedonian officers they managed to reach Serbia where reportedly even a child was born in an overcrowded refugee camp. 

Yet they want to continue their journey to Hungary, where authorities rush to complete an anti-migration fence along the 175-kilometer-border with Serbia by the end of the month. 


And in a controversial move, the ruling Fidesz party wants to introduce mandatory medical checks for refugees, saying many have dangerous diseases. 

Authorities also plan to send thousands of police to the Serbian border. 

Hungary's government says it can no longer cope with the influx of migrants fleeing war and poverty.  Some 130,000 asylum seekers are known to have entered the country illegally this year alone. 

That has also impacted Budapest where mayor István Tarlós  has warned that the situation especially around the city's Keleti (East) Railway Station has become “unmanageable” as more refugees than expected are sleeping in transit zones and around the area. 

Hungarian media also reported that some migrants briefly blocked a train to Germany as they tried to board the train.   


However some volunteers are rushing to the Keleti station to support the refugees, including Tamás Léderer. “This is a donation from Nestle,” he said showing a warehouse. “This is baby food. And here is the mobile charging station,” he added. “Mobile charging is like hard currency here.” 

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR has criticized the Hungarian government's policies. Its representative Babar Baloch also questions the building of the fence along Hungary's border with Serbia.  "You can not solve a refugee crisis by building fences or walls," he said, adding that many had already tried to cross the dangerous Mediterranean Sea. "These people are desperate, they need help. You can not turn your back on these people." 

The Catholic Church is concerned as well. Hungarian Péter Erdő said over the weekend that Hungary's first King Stephen's legacy “suggests responsibility and loving assistance.” 

Speaking at an annual August 20 mass in front of Budapest's Saint Stephen's Basilica, Erdő stressed that, “The thousands of people coming to Hungary pose further and further questions to all of us.”

The church leader added that though “the wave  of international migration far exceeds our individual or national capacieites” people “must face things they may not fully understand and that they must act and often there is no time for consideration.”   


(from Vatican Radio)