'Biblical' exodus: Millions of refugees from Middle East and Africa fleeing to Europe

Migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa set off on foot for the border with Austria from Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 4, 2015. Hundreds of migrants broke out of a Hungarian border camp on Friday and others set off on foot from Budapest as authorities scrambled to contain a migrant crisis that has brought Europe?s asylum system to breaking point.Reuters

The Book of Exodus in the Old Testament details how hundreds of thousands of Israelites, led by Moses, fled Egypt to be completely freed from the shackles of slavery under the Pharaoh.

At present, a similar exodus is happening, this time involving millions of refugees from Syria and other areas in the Middle East and Africa who are trying to escape from the conflict in their home countries.

The sheer number of migrants seeking refuge to Europe is overwhelming the borders and stretching the capacities of European countries, prompting a British lawmaker to say that the humanitarian crisis has already reached "biblical proportions."

"The problem we've got is we've opened the door to an exodus of biblical proportions, meaning millions and millions of refugees. We've lost sight of what it is to be a refugee. How many millions does Europe want to take? That is the question," Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom's Independence Party said.

Farage encouraged Britain to tighten up checks at the borders to prevent illegal immigrants entering the country.

"The European Union (EU) has sent a message that anybody who comes across the Mediterranean or comes through Turkey, once they have set foot in an EU country they will be accepted," the British lawmaker said.

He also said that European countries should re-examine what a "genuine" refugee is.

"Genuine refugees have tended to be groups of people, ethnic groups or religious groups who were directly under persecution and were fleeing in fear of their lives," Farage said.

"The problem we've got now, if you look at the definition of the EU's common asylum policy, it includes anyone fleeing from a war-torn country and it even includes people fleeing extreme poverty," he added.

More than 4 million Syrians have fled their homes due to conflict hoping to resettle in Europe, but most are still stuck in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier said his country can only take in "a few hundred" migrants.