Europe Refugee Crisis

Published: September 5, 2015

Europe Refugee Crisis, Some Austrians cheered as busloads of migrants pulled up on their border with Hungary early Saturday — and weary passengers clutching children streamed toward them. The passengers carried their meager belongings in backpacks as they exited the vehicles in the rain.

They walked on foot over the border to Nickelsdorf, in Austria’s Burgenland state, where applause broke out among groups welcoming the convoys of buses with food, Austrian public TV ORF reported.

The Austrian Red Cross also provided medical supplies and warm blankets.

At least 5,500 refugees have arrived in Austria from Hungary since Friday night, the United Nations refugee agency said Saturday afternoon local time. Some 2,500 are still in the border town of Nickelsdorf and are waiting to head to the capital, Vienna, the UNHCR said via Twitter.

Deputy Chief of Burgenland State Police Werner Fasching earlier said about 10,000 migrants were expected in total. There are only enough beds for 600 people in and around Nickelsdorf, and the bulk of the refugees are being sent to Vienna via trains and buses, he said.

“We are trying to move as many as possible in the direction of Vienna,” Fasching said. There the migrants will receive food, drink and, if needed, medical care. Some who wish to continue on to Germany will be permitted to do so.

More smiles from the AUT/HUN border crossing #RefugeesWelcome

— cstreib (@cstreib) September 5, 2015
Their arrival in Austria caps an emotional week for the migrants, many of whom had walked for hours before they got into dozens of buses provided by the Hungarian authorities.

But the busing was only a temporary solution for this band of refuge seekers, leaving questions about what will be done for the thousands of other Syrian and other migrants still crossing the Mediterranean and traveling north through Europe.

In light of this week’s acute situation, Austrian and German officials agreed to allow thousands of migrants into their countries, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said.

The UNHCR said it “welcomes the decision of Austria and Germany to receive thousands of refugees and migrants who crossed the border last night from Hungary. This is political leadership based on humanitarian values.”

And it’s not just the politicians who have extended a hand. Some individuals in Vienna are donating train tickets for refugees heading onwards across Europe, the UNHCR said, while others elsewhere are giving food and supplies.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said the refugees she’d met at a Vienna station were enormously grateful for the welcome they’d received since reaching Austria.

The refugees I am meeting at the Vienna station are so grateful for the warm welcome.

— Melissa Fleming (@melissarfleming) September 5, 2015


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