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Hungary Considers Drastic Measures as Refugee Crisis There Worsens

Along Hungary's border, rainfall, dropping temperatures, and a steady stream of thousands of people arriving daily in the camps is creating a crisis within a crisis.
Photo via EPA

The humanitarian situation in the towns on the border between Hungary and Serbia is steadily deteriorating as heavy rain falls, temperatures drop, and thousands more people flood into the packed camps.

Meanwhile, Hungary's government is debating whether to declare a state of emergency, starting September 15, as a result of the flood of refugees and migrants arriving in the country, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday. The declaration would reportedly allow soldiers to use more force in preventing people from entering the country. The government is "overwhelmed" by the 2,000 people coming every day, reported the UNHCR, and cannot process new arrivals fast enough.


Hungary's proposal to address the migrant and refugee crisis is based on a series of bills passed last week and will be the first item to be discussed at a government meeting on September 15.

Watch 'Seeking Refuge in Europe: Breaking Borders (Dispatch 1)'

Hungarian authorities are also working to complete the construction of a massive fence along the Serbia-Hungary border by October. The bill would make crossing the border fence a crime, and allow authorities to fast-track the assessment of asylum applications at the border.

Grenzzaun bei — Thomas Präkelt (@Thomaspraekelt)September 10, 2015

More than 160,000 people from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa have entered Hungary this year alone, attempting to gain asylum in wealthier European Union states, in particular Germany.

Many of the people are arriving at the border town of Roszke, near the site of the planned route of the fence. Heavy rain on Thursday turned much of the refugee camps into mud, further adding to the dire situation. The UNHCR reported that thousands of people have been waiting for hours and sometimes days in Roszke with no medical attention.

Seit morgens: Regen in — Thomas Präkelt (@Thomaspraekelt)September 10, 2015

Also on Thursday, the Austrian train company OeBB said they are suspending service between Hungary and Austria because Austria cannot handle the volume of people entering the country. Austria previously had opened its borders to refugees.

"It would be irresponsible to simply let people keep streaming in and spend the night at train stations," an OeBB spokesman said.

At Budapest's eastern train terminal, reports surfaced of refugees and migrants arriving with coughs, colds, diarrhea, and other illnesses as a result of their long journeys. Women are also giving birth to infants while on the road.

Europe's refugee crisis is the worst since World War II. More than 380,000 people have arrived on Europe's shores via sea in 2015 so far, while almost 3,000 people who attempted the journey are missing or dead, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. A third of the people came in August alone.

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