Croatia Bemoans 'Impossible' Refugee Situation, Calls on Europe to Assist

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By Reuters, Bill Neely and Associated Press

OPATOVAC, Croatia — Croatia called on Europe to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis as its security forces grappled Monday with thousands of people continuing to cross into the small nation.

"The situation is impossible for us," Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told NBC News at a camp for migrants and refugees in Opatovac on the border with Serbia. "Croatia is the victim of Europe's failed response to the crisis."

Ostojic, who will be part of a summit convened to deal with the crisis later this week, called on European leaders to "come here and see the situation for themselves."

A migrant woman carrying her child arrives with other migrants and refugees to a newly erected refugee camp in the Croatian town of Opatovac Sunday.STRINGER / AFP - Getty Images

The minister also boarded buses lined up outside the camp to tell passengers that they would be given food and refreshments, and then transported swiftly to Hungary.

"Please follow instructions," he told the seated passengers. "Five hundred people came last night and are already on the border."

Representatives of the U.N.'s refugee agency and the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders were on hand to tend to the migrants and refugees, most of whom have made dangerous journeys from war-torn Syria.

Related: Croatia, Hungary in Diplomatic Spat Over Tide of Migrants

According to Babar Baloch, a U.N. refugee agency spokesman, the camp had the capacity to take 4,000 people. Croatian police say about 27,000 migrants have entered the country since the surge started several days ago.

Monday's scenes of rows of migrants sitting calmly in corn fields after disembarking and before being processed in huge green canvas tents contrasted with Sunday's scenes of chaos on the border with Hungary as police separated men from women and children. Security forces struggled and often failed to keep order as cold and desperate migrants tried to board trains.

Migrants hoping to reach Western Europe started going through Croatia last Wednesday after Hungary pushed them away from its border with Serbia. On Friday, Croatia has said it was overwhelmed by the influx and has been sending the migrants to neighboring Slovenia and Hungary.

Photo Gallery: Migrants Scramble to Board Packed Trains in Croatia

Hungary has started building a fence on the border with Croatia after it had built one along the frontier with Serbia.

Cheryll Simpson contributed.