The collection point at Röszke: the crisis continues

The situation at the Röszke collection point has not changed: hundreds of refugees, including many children, are waiting in an open cornfield 200 metres from the border, often for days.

The situation in the area has become critical (and public) by dawn on Monday, but there were refugees who had been there for four days, waiting for a bus to take them to the registration point. Nóra Köves, human rights expert at the Eötvös Károly Institute, and volunteer here, tells us: “Only the volunteers are keeping people alive. After all these days, the extent of the state’s involvement is the police cordon around the area and the unkempt, exhausted, unprepared policemen”. There is neither electricity nor water in the area, and volunteer doctors care for the extremely exhausted and weakened people in these conditions. There are not enough tents or places to sleep, and people make fires of disused clothing and garbage against the cold, but many have caught cold in the autumn chill.

The un-coordinated work of the huge number of volunteers, who are enthusiastic, but have no professional knowledge or background is also a source of tension, as was also stated in the report of MigSzol working in the area earlier: resources and donations are wasted, and inappropriate distribution of food and clothing also causes problems. In this situation, it is apparent how much the professional experience and infrastructure of big charity organisations is needed; yet these organisations are still keeping a distance from the crisis points.

However, what is even more needed than sufficient food or warm clothes, or places to sleep, is accurate information. Just as in previous months, the number of interpreters is scarce (and they are mostly volunteers), as well as information materials in the refugees’ languages. Thus, the refugees are persuaded by the volunteers not to go further, but have themselves registered. The news about conditions in Hungary has reached the refugees arriving now, so they are afraid if they are registered here, they will be extradited here in accordance with the Dublin 3 Regulation. However, due to the Hungarian circumstances for the time being, nobody is sent back here. Refugees waiting at the collection point are also worried because as far as they know, the Austrian border is still open, but it might be closed at any moment. This is why every day there are multiple attempts to “break out” of the collection point.

Anna Kertész

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