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.

Show 6 Newer Notes

The Worst Person in the Refugee Crisis Right Now

The woman in the light-blue shirt:

She was also caught on camera kicking a young girl. Hanna Kozlowska has details:

The incident happened in the town of Roszke in southern Hungary, close to the Serbian border, as refugees broke through a police line at a collection point. The woman has been identified as Petra Laszlo. The station she was on assignment for is affiliated with Jobbik, Hungary’s far right party.

AFP correspondent Dave Clark notes:

Sacked now, apparently. Say one thing for neo-fascists, no lengthy disciplinary process

As we detailed for you this morning, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says his country will accept 500,000 asylum-seekers a year for the next several years.

But this does not mean all of those migrants will be allowed to stay in Germany. Here is EU data on Germany’s record on first-instance decisions, which are decisions made in response to an initial asylum application:

An Iranian migrant cries while carrying his son at a beach on the Greek island of Kos on August 15. (Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)

Images like this of migrants trying—and sometimes dying—to reach Europe have drawn international attention to the crisis, along with criticism that countries are not doing enough. Here are some voices of European officials, citizens, and of the migrants themselves.  

European Leaders

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s voice is a powerful one within the European Union. Her country has accepted more refugees than any other in the region, and on Monday, announced it would set aside 6 billion euros to help refugees.

Migrants sit in the car of an Austrian citizen who volunteered to take them from Hungary to Austria. (Zsolt Szigetvary / AP)

Over the past week, public attitudes towards refugees pouring out of Syria have begun to shift dramatically. Today, leaders in France, Germany, and Britain announced that their countries would step up their efforts to take in refugees:

President François Hollande of France announced on Monday that his country would take in 24,000 asylum seekers over two years, Britain said it would take in 20,000 refugees from Syria, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would set aside 6 billion euros, about $6.7 billion, to deal with the crisis.

Much of the coverage is about the massive scale of the dislocation: “waves” of asylum-seekers flowing into European countries in a “relentless stream.” But journalists have also given us several powerful glimpses from the view of individuals affected by the crisis.

Riccardo De Luca / AP

Updated on September 6 at 1:02 p.m. ET

Pope Francis wants European parishes to offer shelter to migrant families.

“Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family,” he said in today’s Angelus at St. Peter’s Square.

Migrants wait for trains at Keleti station in Budapest today. (Leonhard Foeger / Reuters)

For now, at least. Thousands of migrants who were holed up in Budapest’s Keleti railway station this week arrived at the Austrian border early Saturday, the AP reports. By the afternoon, 5,000 had made it to Austria and Germany.

The train station looks very different now, but hundreds more, fleeing their homes to escape war and poverty, are expected to cross into Hungary this year.

The number of migrants who have crossed the EU’s borders this year: 340,000. The European Union’s population: 508.2 million. (Incoming migrants are 0.067 percent of the total population).

Syria—which is in the midst of a bloody civil war—is the largest source for these migrants. The conflict has created 4 million refugees.

Of these, 1.9 million are in Turkey (population 75 million), 1.1 million are in Lebanon (population 4.4 million), 629,245 in Jordan (population 6.459 million).

The U.S. has about 1,500—though that number could increase. There are zero in the wealthy Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia.

A girl covers her face as migrants try to board a train at the Keleti station in Budapest, Hungary, on Thursday. (Petr David Josek / AP)

Hungary’s prime minister says the migrant crisis that has produced scenes of chaos and desperation at Budapest’s Keleti station are “not a European problem. The problem is a German problem.”

“Nobody would like to stay in Hungary,” Viktor Orban, the prime minister, said at a news conference in Brussels. “All of them would like to go to Germany.”

The crisis is being described as the worst since World War II.

Just last month, 107,500 migrants crossed into Europe, and the U.N. estimates that the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year exceeds 300,000. Nearly 2,000 landed in Greece overnight.

We decided to look at where the migrants are coming from and which EU countries they are going to using data for the first quarter of this year from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency. Here’s what we found:

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.