- 18 Mar 2022 6:36 AM
- Hungary Matters
György Bakondi told public news channel M1 that more than 432,000 refugees had arrived in Hungary by noon on Wednesday.
Whereas in the first phase of the military operations people were fleeing Ukraine before the war reached them, they are now fleeing directly from the war to safe neighbouring countries, he said.
This new situation requires different kinds of efforts from the Hungarian authorities, civil groups and local councils, Bakondi said. This means there will be an even greater need for the various organisations to coordinate their efforts, he added.
Hungary must continue supporting Transcarpathia Hungarians because their region has seen a big influx of people from eastern Ukraine who have lost everything, he said.
Bakondi said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán paid regular visits to the Hungary-Ukraine border to coordinate and manage the refugee aid efforts.
On another subject, Bakondi said Hungary was facing increased migration pressure on its southern border, noting that the authorities have apprehended 31,200 illegal migrants so far this year and have launched criminal proceedings against 280 people smugglers.
Hungary Well Prepared To Receive Ukraine Refugees At Border
Aid centres set up at the Hungary-Ukraine border are well prepared to receive the growing number of refugees expected from Ukraine in the next few days, the state secretary for church and minority relations said on Thursday.
Miklós Soltész told MTI after visiting Barabás and Beregsurány at the border that aid workers and police expected further masses of refugees to set off from Transcarpathia in the near future, following a few days of calmer conditions in recent days.
Donations received from all over Hungary have filled storage capacities at aid centres and now everyone who wants to send contributions are asked to forward non-perishable food directly to a central warehouse in Aranyosapáti, he said.
First Lady Anita Herczegh, a goodwill ambassador of the Hungarian Maltese Charity, also visited the aid centre in Beregsurány on Thursday.
She praised Hungarians’ readiness to help refugees and said that communities in neighbouring villages had joined forces in the first few days of the war already and this has been further elevated after the arrival of aid organisations.
Imre Szabján, the head of the Hungarian Maltese Charity’s crisis management working group, said that psychological first aid was also being offered in Beregsurány, which appears to be increasingly in demand among refugees traumatised by recent events.
MTI Photo: Zoltán Balogh