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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Corerespondent reporting from Morahalom, Hungary

FullSizeRender (3)MORAHALOM,HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– Despite international protests, Hungary has begun building a huge anti-migration fence along its 175 kilometer (109 miles) border with Serbia. Some 900 soldiers are involved in the project using materials provided by inmates. Hungary’s government says it is crucial to stem the flow of migrants, including many Christians, choosing the Balkans route to reach Europe as an alternative to the dangerous boat trips that have killed many.

In tropical temperatures, troops managed to erect the first part of the four-meter-high (13 feet) fence. They arrived in armored vehicles turning the area into a war zone. Several police officers are also in the neighborhood, adding to a frightening atmosphere for refugees.

Some were lucky. A group of Afghans arrived in a nearby village just before the fence appeared. “It was a long journey. We went through Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and now Hungary. We are going to Germany. Germany is beautiful,” he tells Vatican Radio.

The influx of refugees has created new challenges for Morahalom’s Szent László Catholic Church, explains priest Balász Jó. “An elderly priest met refugees during Mass. They were crying for bread. He was accompanying them to a shop to buy food for them,” Joo recalls. “But we are limited in our resources.”

However if it’s up to Morahalom Mayor Zoltán Nógrádi if the ruling Fidesz party not more refugees will enter the town, and the church. “You realize that more than 2.5 million people are on the move in the Balkans towards the European Union,” he says.

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“It is abnormal. Everybody who can reach Munich, Bonn, Amsterdam or Copenhagen can just call home as soon as they are here (in Hungary).”

But he gets angry when asked whether this is a new Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall as Serbia’s government has suggested. “That was a political border. This is a temporarily solution. Only eight percent of the migrants are real asylum seekers. Ofcourse Hungary will provide asylum to people in need,”including Christians from Syria, he tells Vatican Radio in his office.

FullSizeRender (1)At least some residents want to help the most vulnerable refugees including 70-year-old Judit Bálint a devout Catholic. “I think some people don’t deserve this fence,” she says, interrupting her bicycle tour.

“But ofcourse we cannot have more and more migrants.”

For now construction of the fence continues, despite opposition from the European Union and United Nations refugee agency UNHCR

“What we can do?” wonders the mayor. “Thousands and thousands of people have already arrived here. They often walk through lands and gardens. Elderly people are afraid.”

Brussels has lost touch with reality the mayor complains. “I try to ask for help, but the EU leaders are on holiday….”


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