Bavaria authorities say they are ′pushing their limits′ amid refugee influx | News | DW | 07.09.2015
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Bavaria authorities say they are 'pushing their limits' amid refugee influx

The southern German state of Bavaria expects 10,000 refugees and migrants to arrive on Monday, after about 20,000 arrived over the weekend. As more reach Greece, Britain pledges to take 20,000 Syrians from refugee camps.

People fleeing war and poverty in Syria and other stricken nations arrived by the trainload in Munich on Monday, having made the journey through western Balkan nations to Hungary and then Austria.

The president of the Upper Bavaria region, which includes Munich, Christoph Hillenbrand, estimated the new arrivals on Monday would number "10,000 plus."

From Munich, the refugees and migrants were being transported on buses and trains to other cities across the country where they would be accommodated in refugee shelters and begin the process of applying for asylum.

Hillenbrand added that due to the huge number of arrivals - estimated at up to 22,000 over the weekend - talks were underway to establish transport hubs in other centers like the eastern city of Leipzig. These would serve as new first points of arrival in Germany for refugees coming on trains from Hungary via Austria, which would ease the pressure on Munich.

Munich residents have mobilized in recent days to welcome the new arrivals at the station and provide supplies like food, drinks and toys for the children, but authorities warned they were reaching the limits of their capacity.

"We will still do our best to create new places, but we are pushing against the limits now," Hillenbrand said.

Migrants continue journeys without registration

Despite reaching Germany, some of the new arrivals were reported to have left reception centers of their own accord to travel to other areas of the country. Overwhelmed by the numbers of people arriving, authorities were focusing on their humanitarian needs and not on starting the registration process.

"It's not possible to think any longer about registering people at all," Hillenbrand said, adding that those leaving would not be prevented from doing so. "This is not a prison," he said of the reception centers.

Greek island 'near explosion'

In Greece, thousands of refugees and economic migrants were continuing to arrive on the Greek islands. Lesbos was expected to ferry at least two-thirds of the estimated 15,000 to 18,000 migrants currently on the island to the country's mainland. It has become a key entry point to Europe for people making the short yet treacherous sea journey from Turkey.

"We are placing emphasis here because the situation is on the verge of explosion," interim immigration minister Yiannis Mouzalas told To Vima radio on Monday, according to AFP.

Financially struggling Greece on Monday requested emergency European Union assistance to deal with the influx.

More than 230,000 migrants have landed on Greek shores so far this year, many of them making onward journeys north to other EU countries such as Germany via the western Balkans.

Britain to take in 20,000

British Prime Minister David Cameron has elaborated on his earlier promise to do more to help refugees, telling parliament the country would take in 20,000 people who were staying in camps in countries neighboring war-ravaged Syria.

"We are proposing that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refuges over the rest of this parliament. In doing so, we will continue to show the world that this country is a country of extraordinary compassion," Cameron said in a statement to parliament.

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se/jil (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)

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