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Europe's Border Crisis

Estimated 8,000 Migrants and Refugees Arrive in Germany

Germany Opens Doors to Migrants As Thousands Pour In 2:26

Austria and Germany threw open their borders on Saturday to thousands of exhausted migrants from the east, bussed to the frontier by a right-wing Hungarian government that had tried to stop them, but were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people.

Left to walk the final stretch into Austria, rain-soaked migrants — many of them refugees from Syria's civil war — were whisked by train and shuttle bus first to Vienna and then by train to Munich and other cities in Germany.

Image: Wellwishers applaud and hold up signs welcoming migrants as Syrian families disembark a train that departed from Budapest's Keleti station at the railway station of the airport in Frankfurt
German wellwishers welcome Syrian families disembarking a train in Frankfurt. KAI PFAFFENBACH / Reuters

The last train carrying an estimated 1,000 migrants and refugees pulled into Munich from Austria at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, bringing the total to have arrived in the Bavarian capital since Saturday to about 8,000.

Police immediately ushered the arrivals onto another train bound for Dortmund on the opposite platform, cordoned off from onlookers in the main station terminal.

Most of those who arrived on Saturday were bussed to reception centers in and around the Munich after being medically screened, fed and offered fresh clothing. Many said they were from Syria, while others were from Afghanistan or Iraq.

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They seemed dazed by the calls of "welcome to Munich," from the few dozen well-wishers remaining at around midnight, as well as by their determination to thrust chocolate bars, bananas or bread rolls into their hands.

Austria said 9,000 people had crossed from Hungary on Saturday. At the frontier with Hungary, Austrian police said the flow of people had slowed, with some still crossing on foot.

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Hungary insisted the bus rides were a one-off as hundreds more people gathered in Budapest, in what has become Europe's most acute refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Almost emptied of migrants the night before, the main Budapest railway station was filling up again, a seemingly unrelenting human surge northwards through the Balkan peninsula from Turkey and Greece.