MUNICH, Germany— Applause, cheers and excited shouts of familial recognition filled the brisk afternoon air outside the Hauptbahnhof train station today as thousands of mostly Syrian refugees finished — what for many — will be the final leg of their perilous 2,100 mile journey to seek asylum in Germany.
Expectant family members who have already found asylum in Germany crowded with reporters and craned their necks to look for arriving loved ones. Such happy sightings were announced to all with a sharp shout, followed by a strong embrace and kisses across the metal police divider.
The weary refugees were then directed towards a medical tent before being put on a bus for processing, waving to family members and German onlookers through the windows.
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Dozens of well-meaning Germans also gathered to cheer the arriving refugees, handing out fruit, cookies, candy, and stuffed animals for the children. Several held signs welcoming the Syrians to Germany.
A total of 10,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Munich today before midnight, police say. Thousands more are still in the train station in Vienna, Austria trying to get here by Monday.
The EU, meanwhile, is struggling to hammer out the details of a comprehensive plan to deal with what's being called the Europe's worst refugee crisis in 25 years. At the moment, there's no indication that the flood tide of people will abate in the days ahead, and some fear the pace could increase now that the European passage to Germany has been opened —at least for the time being.