Earlier in the week, a social media campaign was started, begging Austrian drivers to pick up as many of these immigrants as they can in order to safely bring them to Austria’s borders. Now that the refugees have been allowed to cross into Austria, they’re faced with a whole new set of problems, and the Austrian government is trying to figure out how to best take care of it.
Earlier, after several days of chaos and civil disobedience by the migrants, Hungarian officials threw in the towel and allowed the people living in a squalid encampment in a below-ground plaza outside the city’s main train station onto more than 40 buses headed for the Austrian border, as they had been demanding.
“On the basis of the current situation of need, Austria and Germany agree to allow in this case the onward journey of these refugees into their countries,” Chancellor Werner Faymann of Austria wrote on his Facebook page.
Austrian officials promised to do what they could to receive the migrants safely and seamlessly.
Late into a confusing night, during which the police warned that soccer hooligans were planning to attack the encampment, the promised buses finally began arriving around 1 a.m. Saturday, to cheering and clapping from the weary migrants.
The people in the encampment had hoped to travel by train to Austria and Germany, and the Hungarian authorities had let six trainloads of them through on Monday before closing off the station to them and eventually shutting down all international rail traffic to the West.
Officials said that more than a thousand other migrants who had begun walking Friday down the M1 motorway, the country’s main road to the West, severely disrupting traffic, would also be picked up and driven to the border. But migrants allowed only one bus to leave, saying they would wait to see if it actually went to the border before allowing others to depart.
Police helicopters swirled overhead, and the migrants, uncertain what to do, huddled together in the fetid encampment.
Just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, a man with a bullhorn began telling the crowd that they would be taken to the border, and that they should bring with them as much food and water as they could. Families began frantically packing their possessions. Be prepared to move, they were told.
The long line of regional buses began loading the migrants. Some were marked “chartered service” or “transit service.” They were mostly rickety, Soviet-era buses in distinctive blue and yellow liveries.
People waited in long lines to board, and by 1:10 a.m., the first buses were on the move. Migrants waved happily to onlookers as they pulled away.
By 2 a.m., the police said, 40 buses had departed. By 5 a.m. at least six buses arrived at Hegyeshalom, Hungary, with about 400 passengers, where the migrants, many cheering and clapping, were welcomed in the rain by local volunteers.
The Austrian police said those who wanted to continue on to Germany would be directed to a train station, and those who wished to stay in Austria would be taken to a collection center, where they would be interviewed and processed.
The decision to let the migrants go came at an emergency session of top Hungarian officials on Friday, and was made both for humanitarian reasons and to ease the pressure on the nation’s transit system, said Janos Lazar, the prime minister’s chief of staff.
In the midst of all this chaos, the Obama Administration has yet to step up and do anything to help out. Could this be due to a guilty conscience? While most American citizens are viewing this crisis through their television sets or computer screens, many are unaware that it was America who created the problem by arming Syrian rebels and creating a terrorist organization.