Nova Scotia

Syrian refugee crisis video produced by Halifax artist

A Halifax woman found herself in the middle of the largest refugee exodus since the Second World War this week in Budapest.

Veronica Post said she met a number of families and was moved by their stories

Migrants storm into a train at the Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 3 as Hungarian police withdrew from the gates after two days of blocking their entry. (REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo)

A Halifax woman found herself in the middle of the largest refugee exodus since the Second World War this week in Budapest.

Veronica Post is in Hungary working on an art project. The city has become a major transit point for Syrian refugees as they try to make their way to Germany, and other European countries.

Post said friend Anna Zaboeva decided to produce a video of the situation unfolding at the Budapest train station on Sept. 1 when hundreds of refugees were camped out.

She told CBC's Information Morning, two days before the video was shot, she had been letting refugees into her apartment to use her bathroom.

It was a bit of a risk. She said it was illegal for locals to take refugees into their homes or drive them in the city. Post said the government really discouraged the public from interacting with the refugees.

Post said she met a number of families and was moved by their stories, so the decision was made to go to the train station.

"We decided to go down and meet people and present a better face for the city they were stuck in for a few weeks," she said.

Once there, she said most of the people she saw were families and she said the children were the most curious.

"They kind of congregated around us when they found out we had a fluffy dog and we were doing artwork, it attracted a big crowd right away," she said.

It was a refugee who gave her the idea to start drawing to help communicate. She then began drawing the children and giving them the portraits.

The scene was overwhelming, Post said. The government wasn't providing the refugees with anything at that point and any support they got was arranged by self-organized volunteers.

But according to Post, the children were incredible.

"The kids would offer me the food before they would take it," she said.

Post said the atmosphere at the train station is much better now that the government is allowing refugees to travel to Austria. There is food, as well as tents and volunteers to assist them as they travel to Austria.

"They have just hope at this point. So they try to hold on to the hope that they have," she said.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.