The people of Munich have been asked to stop donating to arriving refugees, after local police were completely overwhelmed by food, clothes and toys. Nearly 600 refugees arrived in Germany on Tuesday (September 1). Most were fleeing war-zones and unimaginable horrors in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Munich police sent out a tweet on the morning of September 1, letting residents know that the refugees would soon be arriving at the city's main train station. They added “anyone who wants to help is welcome”. Donations started within minutes. After only an hour police were impressed with how much food, diapers and baby food had been received.
The donations didn’t stop, however, and after only a few hours police where overwhelmed by donations. Yet
another tweet was sent, this one letting residents know that “the existing funds…are sufficient”. Munich residents weren’t deterred and continued to bring in donations. Two hours after that, the police repeated their statement, this time in English:
We are thrilled by the myriad of relief supplies the citizens of #Munich provided for the refugees at the Central Station.— Polizei München (@PolizeiMuenchen) September 1, 2015
Please do not bring any more goods for the Moment.The donations at hand will be sufficient for the refugees present and arriving today. — Polizei München (@PolizeiMuenchen) September 1, 2015
There were still many German residents who wanted to do what they could to help the incoming refugees. Police later referred those people to a Facebook group set up to help provide aid to Munich’s refugees.
Germany currently takes in more asylum seekers than any other country in Europe. Over 73,000 first-time claims were received in the first three months of 2015 alone. For comparison, the UK only received 7,300 in the same time period. Close to 800,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany in 2015. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that anyone who assaults refugees or vandalizes their homes will face the “full force of the law”. Merkel said that the country has “zero tolerance for those who question the dignity of other people”.
It’s a position that the people of Munich, at least, have taken to heart. Hopefully their kindness and compassion will inspire others to do the same.