Those Who Wish To Help Refugees In Hungary Should Do So Through Aid Organisations

  • 10 Sep 2015 10:20 AM
Those Who Wish To Help Refugees  In Hungary Should Do So Through Aid Organisations
Those who truly wish to help asylum-seekers should do so through aid organisations which have extensive experience of decades, are familiar with the relevant regulations, and are able to cooperate with the authorities, Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog said at the press conference held in Budapest after a meeting with the members of the Charity Council.

The Minister highlighted: he requested two things from the members of the Council. To help asylum-seekers to reach the reception stations, and to coordinate the efforts of those who wish to help. He added: Hungary provides all assistance required under the laws of the European Union and Hungary for refugees and migrants; however, asylum-seekers do not reach the places where they could avail themselves of it, partly „due to the chaos and manipulation of information, and partly because insufficient information is provided”.

Mr Balog also said that State Secretary for Churches, Nationalities and Civil Affairs Miklós Soltész had first convened the Charity Council two months ago in order to consult with them on how to help asylum-seekers, and the Government has since maintained continuous, daily contact with the charitable organisations concerned.

He added: it is the duty of the Hungarian State to protect its borders and to maintain Hungary’s internal stability; however, this „should not just be a mere policing responsibility” but should also involve humanitarian aspects, and the aid organisations of the Charity Council are able to provide effective assistance in this.

Mr Soltész said: they have been working together with charitable organisations for years. „We have helped together in a number of disasters, but the task in hand at present is not comparable with any previous project. If we liken our projects to date to short-distance races, the present one is not just a marathon, but an ultra-marathon”, he said, adding that it requires a great deal of perseverance on the part of the aid organisations. The State Secretary than requested the leaders of each of the aid organisations to render an account of their completed projects – even if they are not very spectacular but all the more important and organised – as well as of their plans.

Sándor Szenczy, President of Hungarian Baptist Aid informed the attendees that his organisation is primarily engaged in providing temporary accommodation and health care for migrants, and this will continue to remain the focus also in the future. They finance their activities from EU, state and own resources. They are able to allocate some HUF 2,500 daily for the care of one asylum-seeker. They are planning to set up a health care shipping container so that migrants should not be compelled to receive medical care outdoors with the advent of the cold weather.

Gábor Écsy, National Director of Caritas Hungarica said that the aid organisation of the Catholic Church is present at three reception stations: in the Fót children’s home, and at the Nagyfa and Kiskunhalas reception camps. They primarily help families and children with donations and spiritual care.

Lajos Győri-Dani, Vice-President of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta reported that his colleagues are „present in every facet of this diverse task”. He added: the most spectacular segment of their effort is the aid they provide in the streets. They have offered medical assistance at the Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, in Szeged and in Győr for two months. Additionally, they also help with donations at the reception stations, and maintain a crisis accommodation facility.

István Kardon, Director General of the Hungarian Red Cross, said: their organisation has been providing psychosocial aid specifically for children and families in the vicinity of Szeged, in cooperation with the National Police Headquarters, since December 2014. He further mentioned that they have provided the same kind of assistance at the Röszke camp since June. With funding received from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, almost 200 volunteers are working in Röszke around the clock. He added that while this activity is not spectacular – as they provide help on site when the police respond – it is all the more important.

Sándor Pál, Chair of the Board of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid highlighted: they have been involved in a wide range of tasks at the Debrecen reception station for two months. They provide medical assistance; their gynaecologist and paediatrician are on duty around the clock and regularly help those in need, while the organisation also offers psychological help. They further help in the streets and at the Keleti Railway Station. „We attempt to turn to these people with love and humility, with the aid of translators”, he said.

In the future they will take a mobile medical station with a physician and a nurse – which may be set up anywhere – to the southern border.

László Lehel, Chair-Director of Hungarian Interchurch Aid reported that as the extraordinary situation requires extraordinary measures, they have contacted their international federation for support. Once this support is available, they will be able to „intensify” their efforts. „We have been present at two reception stations to date, but we shall help at three or four stations in the future. Additionally, we would also like to help with the information work in the transit zones.”

Source: Ministry of Human Capacities

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