In One Day, 3% of Icelanders Offer to House Refugees

Hungary shuts main train station amid chaotic scenes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2015 5:59 AM CDT
Icelanders Ask to Be Sent More Refugees
Syrian refugees show their train tickets to Germany and demand to b let on the train at Keleti train terminal in Budapest today.   (AP Photo/Pablo Gorondi)

Amid scenes of chaos in Europe and fresh attempts to seal borders, the people of Iceland have asked if they can do more to help. Some 10,000 people out of a population of 330,000 have as of Monday joined a campaign to urge the government to accept more Syrian refugees—and even offered space in their homes, the Telegraph and AFP report. "I think people have had enough of seeing news stories from the Mediterranean and refugee camps of dying people and they want something done now," says author Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, who launched the campaign Sunday after the Icelandic government said it was only able to help 50 refugees. What one resident had to say: "I'm a single mother with a 6-year-old son ... We can take a child in need. ... We have clothes, a bed, toys and everything a child needs. I would of course pay for the airplane ticket." More on the crisis:

  • All trains from the main station in Budapest, Hungary were halted today, the day after thousands of people, including many Syrians fleeing the civil war, were allowed to board trains north to Austria and Germany without the proper documents, the AP reports.

  • When trains from Budapest arrived in Vienna last night, overwhelmed authorities allowed the passengers to disembark and disperse. Thousands of Austrians outside the station carried signs welcoming them and some had brought food for the hungry travelers. "They have been traveling so long and must be very hungry and they have been treated so shabbily,” a social worker tells the New York Times. "We felt we had to do something," she says. "It's a small thing but maybe it will help."
  • Hundreds more people arrived in Germany last night on trains from Budapest last night. The country is the preferred destination of many and chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the European Union's open-borders agreement could be in danger if other countries fail to take their fair share of refugees, Reuters reports.
  • EU rules state that refugees should register in the first country they arrive in, but this protocol has been widely ignored and Germany says it has now been suspended for those fleeing the Syrian conflict, reports the BBC.
(Police say they have found out how 71 people found dead in an abandoned truck in Austria died.)
(More European Union stories.)

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