Date
22 October 2017
A migrant creeps into Hungary under a barbed-wire fence at the Serbian border. Photo: AFP
A migrant creeps into Hungary under a barbed-wire fence at the Serbian border. Photo: AFP

Hungary scrambles to confront migrant influx

Hungary plans to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs as record numbers of migrants brave coils of razor wire to surge into Europe.

The country is also considering using the army to deter the migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, Reuters reported.

In Germany, which expects to receive 800,000 of them this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel was heckled by dozens of protesters as she visited an eastern town where violent anti-refugee protests erupted at the weekend.

The surge in migrants seeking refuge from conflict or poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia has confronted Europe with its worst refugee crisis since World War II, stirring social tensions and testing the resources and solidarity of the 28-country European Union.

A record 2,533 — mainly Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis — crossed from Serbia into EU member Hungary Tuesday, climbing over or squirreling under a razor-wire barrier into the hands of an over-stretched police force that struggled to fingerprint and process them.

Authorities said over 140,000 had been caught entering so far this year.

A further 1,300 were detained Wednesday morning.

More will have passed unnoticed, walking through gaps in a border fence being built by Hungary in what critics say is a futile attempt to keep them out.

Almost all hope to reach the more affluent countries of northern and western Europe, such as Germany and Sweden.

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