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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Austrian Police Save 3 Ailing Children in New Migrant Truck Incident

Austrian police said Saturday that they rescued three children suffering from severe dehydration who were close to death in a van in Austria, along with 23 other migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The incident occurred Friday, a day after the bodies of 71 refugees were discovered decomposing in an abandoned vehicle on a road between Vienna and Budapest.

The two girls and one boy aged 5 and 6 were in critical condition when police stopped the van after a high-speed chase close to the town of St. Peter am Hart on the German border, Austrian police said. They were hospitalized and reported to be recovering.

"The emergency doctor told us they would not have made it much longer — two, maybe three hours," said David Furtner, police spokesman for Upper Austria province.

The Romanian driver, who had refused to pull over for a routine check, was arrested.

The discovery was the latest in a string of migrant tragedies that have shaken Europe.

Four men suspected of involvement in the deaths of the 71 refugees found Thursday were placed under preliminary arrest by a Hungarian court.

The three Bulgarian suspects are aged 29, 30 and 50, officials said. The fourth, an Afghan, is 28.

The court agreed with prosecutors that the severity of the crime and the risk that the suspects would flee justified their arrest. The four suspects appealed the decision, saying they had not committed any crimes.

The case is being heard in the central Hungarian city of Kecskemet because the truck set off from there before picking up the migrants near the border with Serbia, Gabor Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bacs-Kiskun county chief prosecution office, told reporters before the hearings.

Meeting set at U.N.

On Friday, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he was "horrified and heartbroken" by the latest migrant deaths, both on land and at sea. Many of the victims were Syrians, including children, looking to escape war, terrorism and hopelessness for a better life in Europe.

In a rare statement issued directly under his name, Ban said the conflicts and repression that force people to flee must be resolved. He said he planned a “special meeting devoted to these global concerns” on September 30, during the annual General Assembly of world leaders at U.N. headquarters.

The U.N. refugee office said more than 300,000 refugees and migrants have made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean this year trying to reach Europe — a huge increase over the 219,000 who made the crossing during all of 2014. Most of the refugees are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Macedonia declared a state of emergency last week in response to the 3,000 migrants crossing the border from Greece every day, trying to make their way to the more prosperous European Union.

Many of the migrants feel an extra urgency to get to the West before Hungary completes a fence along its borders.

At a regional summit on the migrant crisis Thursday, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz suggested a plan to set up safe havens in the European Union to process asylum seekers and, if they qualify, give them safe passage to Europe.
    voanews.com

29/8/14 

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