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Hungary's defense minister resigns amid refugee crisis

The political turmoil caused by the ongoing crisis is of no comparison to very real human costs associated with the migration.

By
Brooks Hays
Afghan children looks out a window of a commercial train heading towards Vienna in the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary on September 6, 2015. Photo by Achilleas Zavallis/UPI
Afghan children looks out a window of a commercial train heading towards Vienna in the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary on September 6, 2015. Photo by Achilleas Zavallis/UPI | License Photo

BUDAPEST, Hungary, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Hungary's Defense Minister Csaba Hende became one of the first political casualties of the Syrian refugee crisis on Monday.

The minister resigned as his home country continues to face criticism for its handling of the crisis. The news came after political leaders in Hungary gathered for a national security meeting on Monday.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a right-wing politician who has been critical of Europe's handling of the crisis, immediately replaced Hende with Istvan Simicsko, a member Orban's Fidesz party. Orban has pushed for the deployment of Hungarian troops to the border in order to stem the influx of refugees from the Middle East.

The political turmoil caused by the ongoing crisis is of no comparison to very real human costs associated with the crisis. Thousands of refugees desperately fleeing violence in Syria and elsewhere continue to arrive in Austria and Hungary, and on the shores of Greece.

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The majority of them arrive with hopes of reaching Germany. Both Germany and France have ramped up their efforts to welcome and accommodate refugees, but the mass migration continues to tax the resources of less wealthy nations along the way.

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Local municipalities in Greece have been overwhelmed by the arrival of refugees, most of whom are coming from the shores of Turkey. Politicians in Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos, a Greek island with just 85,000 inhabitants, is pleading for help from the Greek government after more than 15,000 refugees arrived on their beaches.

"Mytilene currently has 15,000-17,000 refugees and this is the official figure from all services," Yiannis Mouzalas, a junior interior minister, told To Vima radio. "We are placing emphasis here because the situation is on the verge of explosion."

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Meanwhile, heads of state in Western Europe are promising to take in more refugees. French president Francois Hollande said his country would house 24,000 refugees over the next two years, while Prime Minister David Cameron announced a five-year plan to resettle 20,000 asylum seekers.

Additionally, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany, which has so far been most accommodating and active in responding to the crisis, pledged to set aside an additional $6.7 billion for refugee services. Germany is expected to take in some 800,000 refugees by the end of 2015.

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