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.