Hare Krishna performing to Syrian refugee kids outside Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday, September 2.
We just wanted a future: Migrants feel stuck in Budapest
02:48 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: A Syrian refugee named Houriye: "I beg you to save us"

NEW: European Union's foreign policy chief urges for "united" action on the refugee crisis

Report: At least 12 people packed onto migrant boats have drowned off Turkey

"We have been here five days. No food, no sleep -- no place to sleep, no anything," a Syrian refugee says

CNN  — 

[Breaking news update, posted at 3:28 a.m.]

Migrants streamed into Budapest’s Keleti train station on Thursday, breaking a deadlock with authorities outside. Trains are running, but the borders with Austria and Slovakia are closed, a rail official said, limiting where the refugees can travel.

[Previous story, posted at 6:07 p.m.]

[CNN] – A tiny step in dealing with Europe’s deadly and massive migrant crisis was attempted Wednesday as Italy, Germany and France sought a united response to the worsening plight of millions of refugees.

The nations’ respective foreign ministers presented the European Union with a joint document calling for a revision of asylum rules and a fairer distribution of refugees, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry.

The effort comes as the photo of a toddler’s lifeless body – one of 12 people who drowned off Turkey and washed up on a beach – has come to symbolize the gravity of the crisis.

The European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, urged “united” action and said the issue will be part of the next EU foreign ministers meeting on Friday and Saturday. The EU Commission was meeting to prepare new proposals.

Another batch of refugees, meanwhile, arrives in Munich with almost every train that pulls into the station.

Tired, hungry and weak from the heat, they speak of a harrowing journey – and the joy of escaping the bloody chaos in their nations.

But in Budapest, the scene is more desperate.

Refugees in the Hungarian capital held up scraps of paper: “Help Syrians,” they read. “Babies are tired.”

Still, almost anything – even this – is better than the chaos and killing from which they have fled: in Syria, where cities lie in rubble; in South Sudan, ravaged by war and poverty; in Libya, where warlords maraud and people suffer; in Iraq, where ISIS likes to videotape its slaughter of innocents.

These lands are no place for families to thrive. No place to raise one’s children.

In Budapest, the migrants – free at last of bombing and war – lie listlessly, waiting to board trains for Western Europe.

“We hope you will save us,” a Syrian refugee named Houriye told CNN. “I beg you to save us.”

But the migrants are denied by authorities. Hundreds wait. Still, they have experienced much worse than this.

Mahmoud, a chemical engineer, said he was a successful businessman until he lost it all to Syria’s war. The face of his 4-year-old son is scratched from a fall at a border crossing.

“It’s too tough for me to see my family like this,” he said.

Wildly varied response

The response of various European governments has varied wildly.

Hungary, a transit point for migrants trying to make their way north, has responded to the crisis by erecting a fence along its border with Serbia.

In Germany, the interior minister will address Parliament, after a planned asylum center was burned down.

Germany has been more accepting of asylum seekers, but political leaders there have had to contend with xenophobic protests.

On Tuesday, police arrested a suspect in an attack earlier in the week on about 40 asylum seekers in a shelter in Brandenburg.

And in France, thousands of migrants have tried to enter the United Kingdom through a French terminal near Calais. Instead, they are stuck at a makeshift camp on the French coast.

Caught in the middle are the desperate men and women, with children in tow, who have fled wars in Syria and Iraq in overcrowded, sometimes deadly voyages by land or by sea.

In just the latest example, at least 12 people traveling on boats filled with refugees drowned off the coast of Turkey, Turkish officials said, according to the country’s semiofficial news agency, Anadolu.

The incident took place after two boats left Bodrum and were trying to reach the Greek coast, Anadolu reported.

Passports and visas, please

At Keleti station in Budapest, tensions simmered.

Hundreds of people who had expected to board trains to Austria and Germany found Hungarian police officers barring their way.

They want to make their way to Western Europe, where they hope to claim asylum.

The journey for almost all of them has been arduous.

“We have been here five days. No food, no sleep – no place to sleep, no anything,” one Syrian refugee at Keleti station told CNN.

He and his fellow travelers had train tickets but were not being allowed through, he said.

“The problem is the amount of migrants with the wrong papers. Obviously, even if they have tic