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Charity workers welcome refugees to Germany and Austria

Published 05/09/2015

A migrants carries a child as they arrive at the Hungarian-Austrian border in Nickelsdorf, Austria, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, where they came from Budapest as Austria in the early-morning hours said it and Germany would let them in. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrants carries a child as they arrive at the Hungarian-Austrian border in Nickelsdorf, Austria, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, where they came from Budapest as Austria in the early-morning hours said it and Germany would let them in. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Hundreds of migrants, exhausted after breaking away from police and marching for hours toward Western Europe, boarded buses provided by Hungary's government as Austria in the early-morning hours said it and Germany would let them in. (AP)

Thousands of exhausted, elated refugees have reached their dream destinations of Germany and Austria, completing epic journeys by boat, bus, train and foot to escape war and poverty.

Before dawn, they clambered off a fleet of Hungarian buses at the Austrian border to find a warm welcome from charity workers offering beds and hot tea. Within a few more hours of rapid-fire aid, many found themselves whisked by train to the Austrian capital, Vienna, and the southern German city of Munich.

The surprise overnight effort eased immediate pressure on Hungary, which has struggled to manage the flow of thousands of migrants arriving daily from non-EU member Serbia. But officials warned that the human tide south of Hungary still was rising, and more westward-bound travellers arrived in Budapest within hours of the mass evacuation of the capital's central rail station.

The apparent futility of stopping the migrants' progress west was underscored when Hungary announced that its bus service to the border had finished and would not be repeated. Almost immediately two groups hit the pavement to start walking to the border: about 200 people who walked out of an open-door refugee camp near the city of Gyor, and about 300 who left Budapest's central Keleti train station, the epicentre of Hungary's recent migrant crisis.

Austrian police spokesman Helmut Marban said more than 5,000 asylum seekers crossed into Austria from Hungary by the afternoon and most had travelled by train to Vienna or beyond. Germany said more than 600 of those have reached Munich. And officials in both Austria and Germany said the unregulated flow of people from Hungary meant that up to 10,000 might reach Austria by nightfall.

Hungary's nationalist government had spent most of the week trying to force migrants to report to government-run refugee centres, but thousands refused and demanded free passage chiefly to Germany.

After a three-day stand-off with police, thousands marched west Friday from the Keleti train station along Hungary's major motorway and camped overnight in the rain by the roadside. Hundreds more broke through police lines at a train station in the western town of Bicske, where police were trying to take them to a refugee camp, and blocked the main rail line as they, too, marched west.

Austria and Germany made the breakthrough possible by announcing they would take responsibility for the mass of humanity that was already on the move west or camped out in their thousands at Keleti. Hungary on Tuesday had suspended train services from that station to Austria and Germany, compounding the build-up there in a futile bid to try to make the visitors file asylum papers in Hungary.

Austrian Federal Railways said the arrivals, once they passed through hastily assembled border shelters and enjoyed refreshments, were being placed on trains to both Vienna and the western city of Salzburg and, for those who requested it, links onward to German cities.

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International welcomed the initiative to clear Hungary's humanitarian traffic jam.

A migrant holds a crying boy out of a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
A migrant holds a crying boy out of a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS A migrant family is arrested by local police after their local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ISTVAN BIELIKISTVAN BIELIK/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Migrants board into a local train heading to the Hungarian-Austrian border at the main train station in Budapest on September 3, 2015, after authorities re-opened the station to refugees. On the day before Hungarian authorities stopped migrants taking trains to Austria and Germany. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Migrants of several countries enter a local train with direction to the Hungarian-Austrian border at Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest on September 3, 2015. A train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station and headed toward the Austrian border, after authorities re-opened the station to migrants. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Migrant boy holds a sign reading 'SOS help me' as he sits with other migrants in front of the Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest on September 2, 2015. Hungarian authorities face mounting anger from thousands of migrants who are unable to board trains to western European countries after the main Budapest station was closed. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
The feet of a young boy are bandaged as he waits at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A young migrant boy plays a harmonica to police officers in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants gather and shout slogans outside the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants help an elderly man to cross tracks at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrant is detained after the train they were traveling in from Budapest arrived in Bicske, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
People sit on a train as hundreds of migrants left the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A boy looks out of a window as a train with hundreds of migrants leaves the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A young boy holds a German flag in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants try to board a train at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A young child cries as hundreds of migrants try to board a train at the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A child cries as nigrants try to board a train at the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A young migrant boy flashes a victory sign with his fingers painted in the colours of the German national flag outside the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants show placards outside of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrant shows his hands with the countries Syria and Germany written on them in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Migrants push and shout as they gather in front of the railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia, and many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A migrant family is arrested by local police after their local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ISTVAN BIELIKISTVAN BIELIK/AFP/Getty Images
Migrant is arrested by local police after his local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ISTVAN BIELIKISTVAN BIELIK/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant takes care of a crying boy outside a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
A migrant holds a crying boy out of a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
A rescuer helps a migrant lying on the platform outside a local train coming from Budapest and heading to the Austrian border, that has been stopped in Bicske by authorities, west of the Hungarian capital on September 3, 2015. The train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station after authorities re-opened the station to migrants as the EU is grappling with an unprecedented influx of people fleeing war, repression and poverty in what the bloc has described as its worst refugee crisis in 50 years. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants board into a local train heading to the Hungarian-Austrian border at the main train station in Budapest on September 3, 2015, after authorities re-opened the station to refugees. On the day before Hungarian authorities stopped migrants taking trains to Austria and Germany. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
Migrants of several countries enter a local train with direction to the Hungarian-Austrian border at Keleti (East) railway station in Budapest on September 3, 2015. A train carrying between 200 and 300 migrants left Budapest's main international train station and headed toward the Austrian border, after authorities re-opened the station to migrants. AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMIPETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: A migrant looks from a window of a train that he is refusing to leave as he protests against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: A migrant receives medical attention as people protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: A migrant receives medical attention as people protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants protest against being taken to a refugee camp from a train that has been held at Bicske station on September 3, 2015 in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Police stand guard as migrants sit on the platform of Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants gathered on the platform of Keleti station watch a train to Sopron leave, after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Police stand guard as migrants sit on the platform of Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board a train in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have bee cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 03: Migrants board trains in Keleti station after it was reopened this morning in central Budapest on September 3, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Although the station has reopened all international trains to Western Europe have been cancelled. According to the Hungarian authorities a record number of migrants from many parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia are crossing the border from Serbia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called Balkans route has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The massive increase, said to be the largest migration of people since World War II, led Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to order Hungary's army to build a steel and barbed wire security barrier along its entire border with Serbia, after more than 100,000 asylum seekers from a variety of countries and war zones entered the country so far this year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

"After endless examples of shameful treatment by governments of refugees and migrants in Europe, it is a relief to finally see a sliver of humanity. But this is far from over, both in Hungary and in Europe as a whole," said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty's deputy director for Europe. "The pragmatic and humane approach finally applied here should become the rule, not the exception."

When the first 400 migrants and refugees arrived in Vienna, charity workers offered a wide choice of supplies displayed in separately labeled shopping carts containing food, water and packages of hygiene products for men and women.

A mixed crowd of friends and Austrian onlookers cheered their arrival, with many shouting "welcome!" in both German and Arabic. One Austrian woman pulled from her handbag a pair of children's rubber rain boots and handed them to a Middle Eastern woman carrying a small boy.

"Austria is very good," said Merhan Harshiri, a 23-year-old Iraqi who smiled broadly as he walked toward the supply line, where newcomers munched on fresh fruit. "We have been treated very well by Austrian police."

"I am very happy," said Firas Al Tahan, 38, a laundry worker from the Syrian capital, Damascus. Seated beside him on the train station's concrete pavement were his 33-year-old wife, Baneaa, in her lap one-month-old daughter Dahab, and beside them four other children aged five to 12, all smiling beside a cart containing green and red apples.

Earlier in jubilant scenes on the border, about 100 bus loads of migrants and refugees disembarked on the Hungarian side of the border and walked a short distance into Austria, where volunteers at a roadside Red Cross shelter welcomed them with tea and handshakes. Many of the travellers slumped in exhaustion on the floor, evident relief etched on their faces.

Many had been awoken by friends at Keleti around midnight with news many didn't believe after days of deadlock: Hungary was granting their demand to be allowed to reach Austria and, for many, onward travel to Germany.

Many feared that the scores of buses assembling at the terminal instead would take them to Hungarian camps for asylum-seekers, as the government previously insisted must happen. At times, it took extended negotiation at the bus doors to persuade people to climb aboard.

Keleti appeared transformed as cleaners used power washers to clear what had become a squalid urban refugee camp of approximately 3,000 residents sprawled about every courtyard and tunnel leading to Budapest's underground system. Only about 10 police remained to supervise a much-thinned presence of approximately 500 campers sleeping in tents or on blankets and carpets.

Many travellers have spent months in Turkish refugee camps, taken long and risky journeys by boat, train and foot through Greece and the Balkans, and crawled under barbed wire on Hungary's southern frontier to a generally frosty welcome in this country with strong anti-immigrant sentiments.

Since Tuesday morning, Hungarian authorities had refused to let them board trains to the west, and the migrants baulked at going to processing centres, fearing they would face deportation or indefinite detention in Hungary. Government officials said they changed course because Hungary's systems were becoming overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.

In Berlin, German officials said they felt it was necessary to take responsibility given Hungary's apparent inability to manage the challenge. But they emphasised that Hungary, as an EU member and first port of call for many migrants, needed to do more to ensure that new arrivals filed for asylum there rather than travel deeper into Europe.

"Because of the emergency situation on the Hungarian border, Austria and Germany have agreed to allow the refugees to travel onward in this case," German government spokesman Georg Streiter said. "It's an attempt to help solve an emergency situation. But we continue to expect Hungary to meet its European obligations."

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led calls for other EU members to shelter migrants as potential refugees, particularly those fleeing civil war in Syria, said that her country would observe no legal limit on the number of asylum seekers it might take.

Ms Merkel told the Funke consortium of newspapers that "the right to political asylum has no limits on the number of asylum seekers".

"As a strong, economically healthy country we have the strength to do what is necessary" and ensure that every asylum seeker gets a fair hearing, she was quoted as saying.

Simone Hilgers, a spokeswoman for the authorities in Upper Bavaria who are coordinating the response to the refugee influx, said a total of about 6,000 people had come through Munich by 8pm.

She said that of the 6,000, about 1,700 had been sent onward to places outside Bavaria.

The remaining 4,300 were either given temporary accommodation in Munich, or taken using 27 buses to other locations in Bavaria, Germany's biggest state. All were given medical care, food, drink and clothes, she said.

Apart from the train to Saalfeld in Thuringia, a train carrying 460 people went from Munich to Frankfurt. Another carrying 800 people is on its way to Dortmund.

A train with 800 people is expected shortly after midnight, then a last train at 1am with 1,000 people on board.

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From Belfast Telegraph