Thousands of exhausted, surprised and relieved migrants reached Austria yesterday, clambering off a fleet of Hungarian buses to find a warm welcome from charity workers offering beds and hot tea.
The pre-dawn move eased immediate pressure on Hungary, which has struggled to manage the flow of thousands of migrants arriving daily from non-EU member Serbia. But officials warned that the human tide south of Hungary was still rising, and more westward-bound travellers continued to arrive in Budapest within hours of the mass evacuation of the capital's central rail station.
Austrian police spokesman Helmut Marban said 4000 migrants had crossed into Austria from Hungary by mid-morning.
Hungary relented in its demand for the travellers to report to government-run asylum centres when challenged by migrants largely from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thousands marched west yesterday from the Keleti train station along Hungary's major motorway and camped overnight in the rain by the roadside. Hundreds more broke through police lines at a train station in the western town of Bicske, where police were trying to take them to a refugee camp, and blocked the main rail line as they, too, marched west.
Austria and Germany then announced they would take responsibility for the mass of humanity already on the move west or camped out in their thousands at Keleti. Austrian Federal Railways said the arriving migrants, once they passed through hastily assembled border shelters and refreshments, were being placed on trains to Vienna and Salzburg.
The first 400 migrants arrived on a train into Vienna, where charity workers provided food, water and hygiene products for men and women.
Many of the travellers have spent months in Turkish refugee camps, taken long journeys by boat, train and foot through Greece and the Balkans, then crawled under barbed wire on Hungary's southern frontier to a frosty welcome. Although Austria says it will offer the newcomers asylum opportunities, most say they want to settle in Germany.
Since Tuesday morning, Hungarian authorities had refused to let them board trains to the west, and the migrants balked at going to processing centres, fearing they would face deportation or indefinite detention in Hungary. Government officials said they changed course because Hungary's systems were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.
In Berlin, German officials said they felt it was necessary to take responsibility given Hungary's apparent inability to manage the challenge.
But they emphasised that Hungary, as an EU member and first port of call for many migrants, needed to do more to ensure new arrivals filed for asylum there rather than travel deeper into Europe.
Aylan laid to rest in his homeland
The man whose wife and sons drowned as they tried to reach the Greek island of Kos from Turkey has warned fellow Syrians not to risk the lives of loved ones in attempting to flee the country.
At the funerals of Aylan, 3, Ghalib, 5, and their mother Rehana, in the Syrian town of Kobane, Abdullah Kurdi blamed the international community for its failure to protect civilians caught in the nation's bitter civil war.
Kurdi had been on the smugglers' boat with his children when it capsized. They slipped through his hands as he tried to save them.
"He told the people, 'I advise you not to leave your homes. The world has let us down," said Abokale Mhw, an activist who attended the funeral.
"I just blame myself," Kurdi told mourners. "I will have to pay the price for this the rest of my life."
Kurdi buried his family in the land of their birth.
The boys' grandfather, Sexo Seno Kurdi revealed 11 members of the family had been killed by Islamic State fighters in Kobane in June.
- Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail
World in action
United States: The US is giving US$26.6 million ($42m) to help the UN refugee agency provide food, water and legal assistance to refugees travelling through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.
Britain: Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain will accept "thousands more" Syrian refugees. Cameron says Britain will increase aid for victims of the Syrian conflict by £100 million ($240m) to £1 billion.
Spain: Nearly a dozen town halls are working to create a network of cities to assist war refugees and say Spain should take in more migrants than the 2739 the Government has agreed on. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau said city hall had received thousands of offers from people who can take in or help refugees. Other cities such as Madrid and Valencia have followed suit.
Ireland: Ireland has announced it will take in at least 1800 refugees, tripling initial plans announced in July to accept roughly 600 over the next two years. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said a more comprehensive response is needed to the "heartbreaking and tragic" events unfolding.
London: Musician Bob Geldof has offered to take in four refugee families as he expressed disgust at the crisis in Europe. The aid campaigner said he would open the doors to his family home in Kent and his luxury flat in London in response to the shocking scenes on borders, beaches and railway stations.