Monday, September 19, 2016

Austria to build fence on Hungarian border to prevent refugee crossings

Austrian authorities are preparing the construction of a fence on the eastern border with Hungary, police sources said Monday.

Tens of thousands of refugees crossed the Nickelsdorf border crossing between the neighboring nations last year on their way to northern Europe after fleeing countries such as Syria or Iraq.

Col. Christian Knopf, in charge of the area's border police, said the terrain had already been marked and the mountings for the future fence's posts had been installed.

He added that, in the event of the fence's construction, it would span two kilometers (1.24 miles) starting from the "Ost Autobahn" A4 highway that crosses the border.

In addition, a second stretch of fencing was to be put up between a secondary road and the train tracks leading to Hungarian territory, as well as a third fence between the highway and main road.

Authorities have also installed some 130 prefabricated containers to be used to identify refugees and process applications for asylum.

The number of migrants entering Austria through the Nickelsdorf crossing has dropped dramatically in the past months.

Between Sept. 2015 and Jan. 2016, 10,000 refugees were registered as crossing each day, while in the first six months of 2016, a total of only 4,073 refugees have crossed the same border.

Austrian police have been performing searches on vehicles entering from Hungary in the past few months to prevent illegal human trafficking.

The Austrian Government had set a limit of 37,500 refugees it was willing to receive this year, compared to the 90,000 migrants that entered the country in 2015.

As of the end of July, 28,765 arrivals had been registered.

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