Reporter's Notebook

The Global Refugee Crisis
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Tens of thousands of people are fleeing civil war and unrest to find new homes in Europe—sometimes with tragic consequences. The U.N. estimates that more people have been displaced than at any time since World War II. Scroll down to see the stories on this topic.

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A Look Back at Europe’s Worst Refugee Crisis

Refugees in Budapest (Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)

Europe’s refugee crisis has been described as the worst of its kind since World War II, at the end of which there were more than 40 million refugees in the region.

The crisis led to the creation of international laws and organizations that would become the foundation of the world’s refugee response today.

Migrants face Hungarian police in the main railway station in Budapest on Tuesday.  (Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)

Hungary has closed the main train station in Budapest to migrants—many of them refugees—to prevent them from traveling through the European Union.

The move appears to be an attempt by the country, itself an EU member, to enforce the rules of the bloc, which requires that migrants be first processed in the EU country they enter. Hungary had earlier allowed the migrants to board trains without registering them or checking their paperwork.

Refugees from the Middle East walk on railway tracks in Roszke, Hungary, on Sunday. (Darko Bandic / AP)

EU officials will meet for an emergency session in Brussels on September 14 as Europe tries to tackle the flow of people—many of them fleeing civil wars in Syria and Libya—into the region.

The announcement comes following last week’s discovery in Austria of the bodies of 71 migrants in an abandoned truck, and after hundreds of people died when the boats carrying them capsized in the Mediterranean.

A great deal—even though the terms are often used interchangeably.

But the distinction becomes important because the world is witnessing the worst refugee crisis since World War II—one with sometimes-tragic consequences. Here’s how the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees defines refugees:

People light candles Thursday in front of the police station in Eisenstadt, Austria, in tribute to the migrants whose bodies were found inside an abandoned truck. (Ronald Zak / AP)

This post was updated on August 28 at 9 a.m. ET

Here’s what we know this morning about the bodies that were found in an abandoned truck in Austria on Thursday:

-- Officials now say there were 71 people in the truck, and that it’s likely the Syrian migrants suffocated.

-- Three people were arrested in Hungary in connection with the discovery. One of them is reported to be the truck’s owner; the other two the drivers.

Police examine the abandoned truck near Parndorf, Austria.  (AP Photo / Ronald Zak)

Austrian authorities say up to 50 migrants were found dead today in a truck abandoned on the side of the highway in the eastern part of the country.  

The discovery coincided with a meeting in Vienna in which European leaders discussed the worst migrant crisis since World War II.