Devastating Photos Show Thousands Trapped In Budapest Train Station

The fate of many is in limbo as they wait to cross into the EU.

09/02/2015 01:02 pm ET | Updated Sep 02, 2015

As European governments spar over how to address the rising number of migrants and refugees trying to enter the EU, some cities in the region are struggling to respond to the influx of people.

Officials at the Keleti train station in central Budapest, Hungary, barred access to trains Wednesday for the second day in a row due to the record numbers of people seeking to board trains to Germany. 

An estimated 3,000 men, women and children are currently camped in every corner of the station, as well as outside the station's main entrance. Officials have closed the terminal indefinitely as they determine the next course of action. Volunteer groups stationed in the train terminal found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people Wednesday. They're experienced at providing food and medical assistance, but only to a few hundred people at a time.

Hungarian police had to bring in reinforcements on Wednesday as protests erupted over the decision to halt train traffic. About 100 people paraded in front of the station's entrance shouting "Freedom, freedom," many of them holding signs begging Germany to let them in. 

The people now stuck in Budapest offer a prime example of the complications that have arisen as traffic along a migration route through the Balkans has skyrocketed in recent months. Thousands of people have arrived on the shores of Greece and Turkey, hoping to make their way through Macedonia and Serbia to enter the EU via Hungary. More than 150,000 people have already entered Hungary this year. 

The Hungarian government has found itself challenged by the crisis. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has ordered the country's army to begin building a steel-and-barbed-wire security fence along Hungary's entire border with Serbia in an effort to regulate the flow of people. 

Petr David Josek/Associated Press
Men, women and children set up camp outdoors in Hungary, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, after police stopped them from getting on trains to Germany. About 150,000 people have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia.
Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press
Children sleep near the Keleti station in makeshift bedding, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. 
Petr David Josek/Associated Press
Hungarian policemen stand guard in front of barred doors Wednesday, as hundreds demanded to be let on trains to Germany. 
Pablo Gorondi/Associated Press
Syrian refugees hold up their train tickets to Germany. 
Petr David Josek/Associated Press
Some young refugees seek shelter in unlikely places.
Pablo Gorondi/Associated Press
Police corralled those waiting to board trains and fenced them in to prevent chaos. The train terminal is closed indefinitely. 
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Access to sanitation, food and water is extremely limited. Here, a child fills up a water bottle while those around her attempt to clean up.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
People waiting to enter the EU have filled the entire area surrounding the train terminal.
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The Hungarian government attributes this record-breaking influx of people in part to the construction of a border fence between Hungary and Serbia. People traveling westward try to get out while they still can.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
A cry for help.
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