Thousands of refugees pour into Austria by bus, train and on foot – USA TODAY
A refugee child looks out of a city train window at the central station in Munich, Germany, Sept. 5, 2015. Several refugees who arrived on a train from Salzburg were directly transferred to a waiting city train.(Photo: Nicolas Armer, EPA)
More than 4,000 refugees have arrived in Austria and thousands more were heading there on foot across Hungary Saturday as European countries broke a stalemate and began finding ways to take in the masses of humanity.
Hungary, which had spent days stopping the refugees from leaving by train, provided buses to take them into Austria, the BBC reported. The government relented under international pressure and after desperate refugees who had camped out at the Budapest train station simply began walking toward the border.
Austria opened the floodgates by announcing that “every refugee in Austria can apply for asylum.By early afternoon Saturday, about 6,500 migrants had crossed into Austria, according to the Austrian interior minister.
In jubilant scenes on the border, hundreds of migrants bearing blankets over their shoulders to provide cover from heavy rains walked off from buses and into Austria, where volunteers at a roadside Red Cross shelter offered them hot tea and handshakes of welcome.
Refugees after getting off a bus arrive from the Hungarian border to Vienna (Photo: Herbert Pfarrhofer, epa)
Many collapsed in exhaustion on the floor, smiles on their faces, the Associated Press reported.
Migrants had the option of traveling onward to Germany, which also announced that it would take in migrants. About 800 people arrived in Vienna before leaving on Germany-bound trains.
German police said they expect to receive 10,000 refugees from Hungary on Saturday, Reuters reports.
In Luxembourg, at a meeting of European foreign ministers, the policy shift was almost palpable as states began bracing for a steady stream of refugees, mainly from war-torn Syria.
“This is not an emergency,” said Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy “It is an urgency that we are facing. It is not something that starts one day and ends that day.”
She said the sooner that Europe accepts this “psychologically” the sooner they will find ways to effectively address the problem.
Many of the refugees, who ended up in Hungary after treacherous travel from Syria, were seeking to get to Germany the moment they touched European soil.