Munich at limit of capacity amid refugee surge: police

13th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

Munich is at the limit of its capacity to welcome refugees arriving en masse in Germany, police warned Sunday, a day after 13,000 asylum-seekers reached the city.

"Given the numbers from yesterday, it is very clear that we have reached the upper limit of our capacity," said a police spokesman.

"Our aim today would be to transport as many as possible out of here, to make place for new arrivals," he said.

The police spokesman had earlier given a figure of 12,200 asylum-seekers arriving on Saturday, but government sources later said the actual number was 13,015.

Munich has become a key arrivals point for refugees travelling to Germany by train through Hungary and Austria.

Last weekend, about 20,000 migrants arrived at the city's main railway station.

The president of the Upper Bavaria region, Christoph Hillenbrand said he did not know "how we can cope", according to the Bild am Sonntag tabloid which headlined its article "Munich at the brink of collapse".

Bavarian public television BR said the city "came very close to a humanitarian disaster", although authorities managed to limit the numbers of people sleeping on mattresses on the floor to just a few dozens, rather than the hundreds as earlier feared.

Authorities are mulling whether to open up the Olympiahalle -- a stadium used for the 1972 Olympics and which today serves as a concert hall or sports arena -- as a temporary shelter for the refugees.

In a sign that authorities were running out of options, regular passenger trains will be cleared out to transport refugees instead.

One such train linking Munich to Berlin will be affected Sunday, Hillenbrand said, adding that passengers would have to rebook their trains.

Other regular services will be requisitioned on Monday, as the southern German city seek to rapidly transport refugees onwards to other locations across the country in other to free up space for new arrivals.

The army said it had mobilised some 600 soldiers on Saturday to help manage the migrant inflow.


© 2015 AFP

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