Newly arrived migrants to Hungary need assistance in transit centre

Publié: 16 juillet 2015 14:55 CET

By Andreea Anca, IFRC


The 25-year-old woman from Iraq seems too tired to talk at length about the difficult journey that brought her to southern Hungary on a hot summer day in early July. She is trying in vain to comfort her six-month-old son, who is crying in her arms. The husband and two of her younger sisters are sleeping undisturbed in the army beds lined up at the identification centre in Röszke, near the border with Serbia.


A young man from Sudan sits alone, away from the rest, looking exhausted and lost in the large space of what used to be once a hangar. He is slowly taking off his shoes, bursting suddenly into tears.


A woman from Afghanistan lying in bed is in visible pain from the injuries on her knee and ankle.


Khaled, 13 and Niwar, 14, are two young boys from Syria who have made it this far accompanied by distant relatives. Their rough bare-feet testify to long-distance walks without shoes. Niwar is scratching nervously his arms dotted all over with rashes.


Near the exit, there is a long cue of migrants waiting to be boarded on the buses outside, which will take most of them to reception centres across the country.


In this space there is one lively corner, where several children are  drawing and making paper planes helped by a Hungarian Red Cross volunteer from the Csongràd branch. The colouring pencils and the games seem to make them oblivious to their parents fatigue and the concerned look in their eyes.


Red Cross universally accepted


Migrants who attempt to cross the Hungarian-Serbian border are first taken to the centre in Röszke by the police, where they are registered and transferred to other migration and asylum facilities in Hungary. During these few hours people are provided food, water and can take some rest.


According to the police, most migrants come from countries of armed conflicts, deep poverty and social unrest such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The available data reveals that, on average, 80 per cent of the newly arrived at the Röszke centre claim asylum in Hungary. Approximately ten per cent are under the age of 14, one third are under 18, and there are also many pregnant women among those arriving here.


Gàbor Eberhardt, the police captain in charge of the Röszke centre appeals for civilian assistance, to help the officials bridge the communication with the migrants and by engaging with the children.


“We need help here, the police cannot deal with this situation alone,” he says. "An organization such as Red Cross is universally accepted." Eberhardt says that there is an estimated 600-1,000 migrants entering Hungary on daily basis.


Currently, the Hungarian Red Cross is providing psychosocial support to children and women at the Röszke centre and has started preparations for scaling up its migrant-related operations.


“The Hungarian Red Cross is providing assistance for migrants based on the extent of vulnerabilities, taking a long-term approach to finding solutions to the people in most need,” says Istvàn Kardos, the Director General of the Hungarian Red Cross. “For us no human being is illegal.”