Record numbers of migrants continue to attempt border crossings

Updated

A gruesome discovery this week of 71 bodies decomposing in a tractor-trailer truck parked near the Austrian border shone a new light on the massive humanitarian crisis facing Europe. Ten of thousands of migrants are fleeing war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to embark on dangerous treks to Eastern Europe and EU countries. 

Many are following the Balkans route, in which they journey from Turkey to Greece by sea before walking or taking a bus north to Macedonia, then taking a train or traveling by foot to Serbia and walking the final miles to Hungary, an EU member. They then face three layers of hastily placed razor wire lining the 109-mile border than runs between Hungary and Serbia. Migrants, including families with young children, are using makeshift methods to raise up the dangerous barrier and slip into the country.

RELATED: 71 dead refugees found in truck on Austria highway: Officials

The arduous journey is still considered safer than attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Italy. Also this week, 50 bodies were found aboard a smuggler’s boat along that route.

“The world’s eyes are upon us,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Thursday at a meeting in Vienna of European leaders. “This is a warning for us to tackle the issue of migration quickly. We have more refugees in the world than at any time since World War II.”

NBC News’ Alastair Jamieson contributed to this article. Below, see photos of the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe.

Hungarian policemen detain a Syrian migrant family after they entered Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Hungary, Aug. 28, 2015. (Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Hungarian policemen detain a Syrian migrant family after they entered Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Hungary, Aug. 28, 2015.
Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Members of a migrant family from Syria embrace each other after completing a three mile crossing of the Aegean Sea to the island of Kos from Turkey August 28, 2015 in Kos, Greece. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty)
Members of a migrant family from Syria embrace each other after completing a three mile crossing of the Aegean Sea to the island of Kos from Turkey August 28, 2015 in Kos, Greece. Migrants from the Middle East and North Africa continue to flood into Europe at a rate that marks the largest migration since World War II.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty
Migrants sleep on a bench at a park in Belgrade, Serbia, Aug. 28, 2015. (Photo by Marko Drobnjakovic/AP)
Migrants sleep on a bench at a park in Belgrade, Serbia, Aug. 28, 2015. Over 10,000 migrants, including many women with babies and small children, have crossed into Serbia over the past few days and headed toward Hungary and the EU Schengen Area, a zone with no internal border checks between member countries.
Photo by Marko Drobnjakovic/AP
In this photo taken late, Aug. 27, 2015, migrants travel on an overnight train from the Macedonian town of Gevgelija, to the border with Serbia. (Photo by Santi Palacios/AP)
In this photo taken late, Aug. 27, 2015, migrants travel on an overnight train from the Macedonian town of Gevgelija, to the border with Serbia. Thousands of migrants have poured into Macedonia and boarded trains and busses that are taking them a step closer to the European Union.
Photo by Santi Palacios/AP
Asylum seekers sleep outside a train station in Budapest, Hungary, on Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo by Laszlo Balogh/Reuters)
Asylum seekers sleep outside a train station in Budapest, Hungary, on Aug. 27, 2015.
Photo by Laszlo Balogh/Reuters
A Syrian migrant carries his children as he walks along a railway track to cross the Serbian border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters)
A Syrian migrant carries his children as he walks along a railway track to cross the Serbian border with Hungary near the village of Horgos, Aug. 27, 2015. Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe.
Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters
Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Aug. 27, 2015.
Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Migrants are seen through the window of a police car at the Greek-Macedonian border, as they wait to be allowed by Macedonian police to cross the border, Idomeni, northern Greece, Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo by Santi Palacios/AP)
Migrants are seen through the window of a police car at the Greek-Macedonian border, as they wait to be allowed by Macedonian police to cross the border, Idomeni, northern Greece, Aug. 27, 2015. 
Photo by Santi Palacios/AP
Syrian migrants walk on a railway track after crossing the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary, Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Syrian migrants walk on a railway track after crossing the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary, Aug. 26, 2015. 
Photo by Bernadett Szabo/Reuters
Migrants wait to get on the train from Macedonian south border near Gevgelija on Aug. 26, 2015 to Macedonian north border with Serbia on their way to Western Europe. (Photo by Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters)
Migrants wait to get on the train from Macedonian south border near Gevgelija on Aug. 26, 2015 to Macedonian north border with Serbia on their way to Western Europe.
Photo by Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters
A migrant woman sits in the train at Gevgelija,The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on Aug. 25, 2015. (Photo by Vassil Donev/EPA)
A migrant woman sits in the train at Gevgelija,The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on Aug. 25, 2015. The Gevgelija-Presevo journey is just a part of the journey that the refugees, the vast majority of them from Syria, are forced to make along the so-called Balkan corridor, which takes them from Turkey, across Greece, Macedonia and Serbia to Hungary, the gateway to the European Union.
Photo by Vassil Donev/EPA
Syrian refugees walk along the roads of the border town of Idomeni, northern Greece to cross the border and enter Macedonia, on Aug. 25, 2015. (Photo by Santi Palacios/AP)
Syrian refugees walk along the roads of the border town of Idomeni , northern Greece to cross the border and enter Macedonia, on Aug. 25, 2015. 
Photo by Santi Palacios/AP

Europe, Photography and Syria

Record numbers of migrants continue to attempt border crossings

Updated