18 Oct 2015

Migrant crisis: Slovenia army to help police

9:40 am on 18 October 2015

Slovenia's army will help police deal with thousands of migrants expected to arrive from Croatia in the coming days, Prime Minister Miro Cerar says.

Migrants walk to the border with Hungary

Migrants walk to the border with Hungary after arriving by train at Botovo, Croatia has a plan to manage the flow of migrants agreed with Slovenia that it will start implementing when Hungary seals off the Hungarian-Croatian border, the government's spokesman said on Friday. Hungary said on Friday it would close its southern border with Croatia from midnight. Photo: Getty

He said the army would provide support in logistics, transportation, human resources and "some technical areas".

Around 2,700 migrants arrived in Slovenia on Saturday - some 600 have already travelled on to Austria.

Croatia began sending migrants to Slovenia on Saturday after Hungary closed its borders to stem the influx.

Many of the migrants - a large number of whom are Syrians and other refugees fleeing conflict in their own countries - aim to continue north to Austria and Germany.

Slovenia's Prime Minister Miro Cerar, speaking after a meeting of the National Security Council, said the government had decided "to include the army in helping police".

But he insisted: "Slovenia is not in a state of emergency."

"We are trying to calm things down as best we can. We will try to manage the situation on the border so that the rest of the country is not affected. The country needs to function normally."

The past month has seen some 3,000 migrants pass through Slovenia, Reuters news agency reported. Slovenia, which has a population of two million has said it was in a position to accommodate up to 8,000 migrants per day.

Hundreds of refugees were bussed across Croatia on Saturday, from its border with Serbia to its border with Slovenia.

A train carrying 1,800 migrants arrived at the Croatian town of Cakovec and they were separated into groups travelling to different border crossings.

The UNHCR at one reception centre on the Croatian-Slovenian border said things were "running really smoothly".

Unlike other countries, Slovenia had time to prepare... It's not perfect, but things are moving," UNHCR spokeswoman Caroline van Buren told the AFP news agency.

In other news:

  • Twelve refugees - four of them children - drowned off the coast of Turkey while trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Turkish coastguard said. They were thought to be from Syria or Afghanistan
  • The number of migrants camping in the French port of Calais before attempting to get to the UK has doubled to 6,000, officials say.


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