Red Cross increases support for vulnerable migrants on Hungarian border

Published: 16 September 2015 23:28 CET

More than 13,000 vulnerable migrants streamed across the border from Serbia to Hungary on the weekend: children, parents and extended families. As needs increased, so did the response. The Hungarian Red Cross scaled-up its humanitarian support as did generous citizens – the other faces of humanity in the crisis – who continued to provide donations of clothing and other support.

Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who visited the Röszke border crossing, praised the work of Hungarian Red Cross and the spontaneous support offered by individuals, recalling that community action is the bedrock of response in emergencies.

“We will not turn a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis, especially on this scale. In recent weeks, we have seen thousands of members of the public lead the way; the simple act of offering a bottle of water or a pair of shoes to those in need demonstrates the humanity that is within us all,” he said.

With the number of refugees and other migrants crossing Europe continuing to grow, Mr. Sy reiterated the responsibility to protect the dignity of migrants, as well as the need to increase assistance across the Western Balkans route.

“To be there, to be in the presence of families that have fled conflict in search of safety – to be one metre from a child that has travelled thousands of miles on foot, bus, train, boat in search of security – gives you a new perspective on this humanitarian crisis,” continued Mr. Sy. “The majority here are families who are fleeing conflict, violence and insecurity at home. Meeting their basic needs must be our first priority. We need to do more, and we need to do it now.”

In recent months, the Hungarian Red Cross has provided assistance to more than 30,000 vulnerable migrants in locations across the country, such as Röszke, Budapest, Bicske, Hegyeshalom, Debrecen and  Vámosszabadi.

“This weekend we scaled-up our efforts mobilizing more volunteers and relief items to respond to the largest influx of vulnerable migrants since the onset of the crisis,” said Dr. Zsigmond Göndöcs, President of the Hungarian Red Cross. “We continue to remain focussed on responding to the most urgent humanitarian needs.”