Exhausted Afghan refugees who finally made it to Germany spoke out on Sunday and told TOLOnews of the severe hardships faced along the way in their quest to reach Europe.
They also said most migrants were Syrian nationals and that their needs were being prioritized while the Afghans weren’t.
Speaking to TOLOnews’ Parwiz Shamal, who is covering the story from Munich in Germany, scores of Afghan migrants said they had risked their lives and traveled for months without decent food or shelter to their destination.
According to Munich police, 63,000 refugees have arrived in the city since Augutst 1. These are mostly Syrians but there are also Iraqis and Afghans among them. According to them, about 1,000 arrive every day in Munich – the first stop en route from the eastern parts of Europe.
One Afghan refugee told Shamal: “My three friends who were coming by boat [from Greece] disappeared in the dark of night.” He said he contacted the Greek police but after three days has heard nothing.
The Munich train station recently saw about 30,000 refugees gathered there but, reports Shamal, police cleared them and moved them to camps after asylum applications had been submitted.
Another refugee told TOLOnews that the journey to Europe had been treacherous.
She said: “We had a dangerous journey. We almost drowned at sea.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday night a large group of German nationals gathered at the station to welcome the incoming migrants. Handing out food and clothing many clapped and shouted out words of encouragement.
“My opinion is positive as I think we have to help the people who have big problems in their countries,” one German woman said at the station.
But not all locals shared the same sentiment. One German woman made it clear that she was not happy with the arrival of Afghan refugees.
“I don’t like Afghans because my experience with the Afghans is very very bad,” she said, adding that a number of Afghans living in the UK, who she knew, had after 15 years not yet integrated into society nor learned to speak English.
But one sector that is happy to have the refugees is the industrial one. With an ageing population and a very low birthrate, concerns have been raised over labour shortages.
German media reports state that the influx of refugees is considered a potential boon for the industrial sector as it could help ease the labor shortage issue.
One of the main reasons for Afghans fleeing their country is that of unemployment, along with security. But in order to leave the country, migrants are forced to spend thousands of dollars and risk their lives and that of their families to travel overland across Turkey before boarding mostly overcrowded dinghies in Turkey for Greece. Most of them have until now eyed Germany as their final destination.