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Thousands rush across as Croatia opens border with Serbia / International Affairs for UPSC Exam 2016

Croatia opens border with Serbia
BERKASOVO: Thousands of people trying to reach the heart of Europe surged across Serbia’s border into Croatia as police ended a two-day bottleneck on Monday that had reduced many to mud-caked misery. The surprise move allowed an estimated 3,000 more migrants to travel into Croatia bound for Slovenia, the next agonising obstacle looming on the West Balkans route that currently serves as asylum seekers’ main eastern entrance to the European Union. Slovenia, which also has been struggling to slow the flow of humanity across its frontiers, faced another evening wave of trekkers seeking to cross the small Alpine country and reach Austria and Germany to the north. “Without any announcement, the borders opened. When the borders opened, everybody rushed,” said Melita Sunjic, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency positioned on the Serb-Croat border. “The last person to go was a young boy without a leg, and we helped him cross in a wheelchair.” Aid officials at the border distributed blue rain ponchos and bags of food to bedraggled travelers, many of them slipping in ankle-deep mud and chilled to the bone. Beyond stood about a dozen police, who had removed road barricades to permit people to walk down the rural lane. Officials on the Croat side planned to bus the newcomers either to a Croat refugee camp or more likely given asylum seekers’ reluctance to stop before reaching their desired destinations to the Slovenian border. Slovenia’s Interior Ministry said that some 5,000 migrants reached the border on Monday at various entry points, and most were allowed to enter, with at least 900 reaching Austria by the evening. Slovenia had vowed to take no more than 2,500 per day.

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