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Refugee Tide to Austria Slows, for Now

  • Heather Murdock

The stream of refugees into Vienna’s central train station has slowed in recent days after Hungary closed its borders. But as Vienna authorities seek to clear the station in the most humane way possible, refugees hope other paths are opening up and their friends and family will to follow them to Austria.

Crowds still gathered at Vienna’s main train station Thursday, a day after Hungary closed its border with Serbia, slowing the tide of refugees.

Some families who are stranded without money or passports to get to Germany still wait outside for help. Aid workers said they were prepared to be at the station indefinitely.

“They are tired. We want to help them," said a volunteer aid worker named Osman. "We don’t want to leave it to strangers to help them and give them everything they need. They are tired from their souls, and they need rest from inside.”

The station is not nearly as crowded as it was a couple of days ago, but some refugees say the people stranded on the other side of the border are sure to find some way to get to migrant-friendly countries in Europe.

“We don’t know what will happen with them," said Fawsi, a Syrian refugee. "Maybe they will find smugglers, or something else will bring them to Hungary.”

Aid workers try to persuade people to leave the station by offering free housing elsewhere and rides to the German border. But many chose to sleep outside, before getting on a bus that doesn’t cross a border or missing a train to what they see as a better life.