Jubilant migrants arrive in Austria from Hungary

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Europe is in the midst of an unprecedented human migration. Fleeing war, fearing for their life and dreaming of a better life far from the poverty and upheaval of their unstable nations, hundreds of thousands are flocking to Europe’s shores. The migrants and refugees risk their lives in rickety boats and cramped trucks — only to be greeted by governments that can’t agree on how, or if, to welcome them.

Here’s a look at the latest country-by-country developments in the refugee and migrant crisis unfolding across much of Europe:

Austria: Migrants walk across border to applause

Austrians applauded as buses loaded with migrants pulled up on their border with Hungary early Saturday — and the exhausted passengers walked out toward them.

Weary passengers clutched sleeping children and meager belongings as they exited the vehicle and walked on foot over the border to Austria.

There, applause broke out among the Austrians gathered to welcome the convoys of buses with food, Austrian public TV ORF reported. The Austrian Red Cross also provided medical supplies and warm blankets.

Many migrants originally traveling by rail had grown weary of waiting at Hungarian train stations. At the station in the town of Bicske, police in riot gear had faced off with migrants who had refused to get out of a train.

Many were determined to reach Austria and Germany and took to roads on foot. Some Hungarian citizens, moved by their plight, handed out food and water to those passing.

Hungary’s government then provided 100 buses to ferry them and other migrants at Budapest’s main Keleti train station to the Austrian border.

The first group arrived early Saturday. A CNN crew drove past a long convoy of dozens of buses in Hungary lined up in the direction of the Austrian border.

“So utterly exhausted after 9hr hike on highway,” tweeted CNN’s Arwa Damon, “finally on bus heading toward #austria border.”

At least 5,500 refugees have arrived in Austria from Hungary since Friday night, the United Nations refugee agency said Saturday afternoon local time. Some 2,500 are still in the border town of Nickelsdorf and are waiting to head to the capital, Vienna, the UNHCR said via Twitter.

The agency also said a 50-year-old man had died Friday in Bicske, the only casualty reported from the chaos in Hungary.

Initial reports suggest that he fell and hit his head on the tracks while trying to run away from police, said Montserrat Feixas Vihe, the UNHCR’s Central Europe representative. “This tragic death illustrates the desperation of those arriving in Europe in search of safety,” he said.

Hungarian government: Just enforcing EU rules

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto defended his country’s response on Saturday, before meeting with fellow EU foreign ministers.

“What has been happening in Hungary are two things — first, the failed migration policy of the EU, and the second one is series of some irresponsible statements made by European politicians,” he said.

Szijjarto also accused the migrants of exacerbating the situation by failing to cooperate with authorities or go to refugee camps where they could get shelter and other essentials. In setting off on foot along the country’s main railway line and highway, they then triggered an emergency situation, he said.

“That is why we have decided to send buses and deliver them to the Austrian border where they wanted to go.”

Under European law, those seeking asylum are approved in the country where they first registered, and most migrants prefer to file paperwork in Western European nations, which have better programs set up to help refugees.

Hungary is responding to the influx of migrants heading north by building a barbed-wire fence along its southern border with Serbia.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a radio station in Hungary on Friday that poor communication from Germany, which said it expected 800,000 people to apply for asylum there, was to blame for the situation at Keleti station. And he warned EU leaders that accepting more migrants could be a dangerous decision.

“We may one morning wake up and realize that we are in the minority on our own continent,” he said.

Luxembourg: EU foreign ministers meet

EU foreign ministers met in Luxembourg on Saturday.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Europe is finally starting to see the problem for what it is — not just affecting certain EU states, such as Italy and Greece, but a Europe-wide issue.

“We also have to start using the right words. It is partially a migrant flow, but it is mainly a refugee flow, which puts us in a different situation when it comes to our legal and moral duties,” she said. It’s also a situation that is “here to stay,” she warned.

“The time for blame games is over,” Mogherini said, and EU states need to find common ways of sharing responsibility for the influx of migrants and refugees, rather than leaving only a few to shoulder the burden.

Mandatory quotas have been rejected by some EU members. However, a voluntary system makes decisions more difficult, she said, so common systems are needed to speed up the process.

France and Germany have proposed a welcoming mechanism that would be permanent and mandatory in Europe.

On Friday, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and the Slovak Republic met and issued a statement saying they plan to improve transit and asylum procedures for migrants. They also said they would help Balkan nations enforce their borders.

The nations will send their home ministers for emergency talks in Brussels, Belgium, on September 14.

Finland: Prime Minister throws open his doors

Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila has said he is prepared to open his little-used house to asylum seekers in need of accommodation, the country’s state broadcaster said Saturday.

Promising the use of his home in Kempele, near the coastal city of Oulu, Sipilia said he wanted to encourage all Finns to help with the refugee crisis, Finnish broadcaster YLE said.

The Prime Minister also appealed to churches and volunteer organizations to help with the growing need for accommodation.

“I hope this becomes some kind of people’s movement that will inspire many to shoulder part of the burden in this refugee housing crisis,” Sipila said. “What we need now is a show of compassion.”

Jordan: Funding shortfall hits food aid for refugees

More than 200,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan have stopped receiving vital food aid from the World Food Programme because of funding shortfalls, the UN agency said this week.

Text messages were sent out to 229,000 refugees in Jordan informing them the food aid they normally receive would be indefinitely suspended, Andrew Harper, the UN refugee agency representative in Jordan, said via Twitter on Wednesday.

WFP spokeswoman Abeer Etefa told CNN Saturday that “it does not mean these people were not vulnerable, but it is not realistic to continue this way.”

She said the “most extremely vulnerable,” amounting to 211,000 refugees, were being prioritized and would only receive about 50 cents a day.

She said the funding shortfalls were having a regional impact, with WFP voucher recipients in Lebanon now getting $13.50 a month, half what they used to.

“There is no sustainable funding,” Etefa said, adding that $236 million was needed through November, and that while donors had given more than they had before, the length and extent of the current crisis was unlike any other.

Canada: MP wants stepped-up response

A Canadian member of Parliament called on the government Saturday to accelerate its plans to accept Syrian refugees and streamline the process for private sponsorships by Canadian citizens.

Paul Dewar, the MP for Ottawa Center, said the government has already committed to taking in 10,000 refugees over three years, but he wants Canada to accept that number this year.

“This is an ambitious agenda, but when it comes to saving lives, Canadians are ambitious,” Dewar said.

He said he wants the government to appoint a special coordinator for refugees, and he called on all Canadians to consider sponsoring families.

Turkey: Toddler’s body returns home for burial

Aylan Kurdi’s last journey was supposed to take him to a safe home — hundreds of miles away from the relentless war in his native Syria.

Instead, the toddler drowned off Turkey, and the image of his body, face down in the surf of a Turkish beach, rocketed around the world this week. His 4-year-old brother and mother perished with him.

The three were buried Friday in Kobani, the Syrian city his family left to escape the daily barrage of bombs.

Aylan’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, who survived, was present as his wife and two sons were laid to rest.

“I don’t want anything else from this world,” he said. “Everything I was dreaming of is gone. I want to bury my children and sit beside them until I die.”

TM & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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