We need you to help the Forgotten Millions one more time. The Herald and World Vision have relaunched a major campaign to raise funds and help the millions of children left homeless by war in Syria. With your help we can make a difference to the children and their families in desperate need throughout this region

You may have seen the pictures. The Hungarians are using water cannons and tear gas on refugees at the Serbia-Hungary border.

The fence is complete, all 175km of it, but some refugees broke through the gates which are now closed on the border. That's when the tear gas and water cannons came out.

I have just seen some pictures coming in out of Croatia too. The Croatians say that if refugees enter Croatia from Serbia, they will allow them to passage through to northern Europe. So that will be the new frontier, Croatia.

I got back yesterday from the border. I was on Turkey's border with Syria, and also the border that divides Serbia and Hungary. What I saw on the border, I don't think will ever leave me.

Advertisement

People queuing in the mud and rain to get on buses, Hungarian police standing in front of them wearing face masks and rubber gloves.

No one could communicate with each other. That is such a major failing on a humanitarian level. Thousands of people reaching Hungary, thousands being bundled on to trains, but no Arabic or Hungarian translators. And that leads to so much confusion and fear.

A refugee woman wipes her eyes after Hungarian riot police used pepper spray and water cannon to push back refugees. Photo / Getty Images
A refugee woman wipes her eyes after Hungarian riot police used pepper spray and water cannon to push back refugees. Photo / Getty Images

The images of Hungarian police going through the cornfields with dogs, German shepherds. And the dogs are choking on their collars, barking, and pulling on their leads.

And walking, as we did between Serbia and Hungary along the refugee route, and walking past the fence that was still being built. It was almost finished, but watching some of the Syrians lower their heads and quickly pass by that fence. Well, you could sense the humiliation.

The New Zealand Herald and World Vision have launched The Forgotten Millions campaign to raise funds to meet an immense and urgent humanitarian need. With your help we can make a difference for the children and their families in desperate need throughout this region

One man, a charming man, a businessman from Syria who was with his six and seven year old daughters. His wife was killed in their own home by Isis. He had just been telling me what happened, Isis was trying to intimidate families and was going from home to home, and they entered his house and killed her. One of his daughters, in particular, is terribly affected by that, and that's why he has brought them to Europe.

I was with him as we passed that fence. Soldiers were building it as we passed, unrolling razor wire, and he quietly said: "It's as if we are animals."

A young girl feels the effects of tear gas during clashes between refugees and Hungarian anti-riot police. Photo / Getty Images
A young girl feels the effects of tear gas during clashes between refugees and Hungarian anti-riot police. Photo / Getty Images

Some of those images though, the staunch men in heavy hessian uniforms, the police dogs moving through fields, packed trains, people pleading for safe passage, people in a rush trying to get on buses, four-metre high wire fences, razor wire. We've seen this all before in Europe, haven't we.

Thousands of refugees have fled a conflict, but as they approach Europe, they're about to enter another one.

Advertisement

Debate on this article is now closed.