As many of the thousands of refugees reaching the German border lack adequate clothes to face the European winter, and with the first lows of the season hitting this week, police said that donations of warm clothes have been distributed ahead of the construction of a "winter hall". Temperatures have approached and even dipped below 0C on the German-Austrian border in recent days. German and Austrian police are working hard to collect warm clothes handed out by neighbours and volunteers, and try to find new ways of coping with the huge influx.

Germany has taken in more than most, in a record-breaking flood into Europe of refugees escaping wars and deprivation in the Middle East, Africa and Asia that is likely to exceed one million people by the end of the year.

"It is indeed the case that many people who come here don't have adequate winter clothes. But there are many people that contribute on the Austrian and on the German side of the border bringing warm clothes for children, men and women so that we can help them here. That means that we can provide them with those clothes when they get here," police commissioner and spokesman Rudolf Hoeser said at the Wegscheid shelter at the German-Austrian border.

He explained how local authorities were working to offer buses in early December to cover the 8km between the two towns closest to the border to make the refugees' journey a bit easier.

"As from 5 December there will be a new procedure. A winter hall will be built in Nebelberg, Austria, from where the migrants will be brought directly to Wegscheid by bus so that they can skip the walk across the border," Hoeser said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week expressed the need to develop the passport-free Schengen rules and insisted on the necessity to distribute refugees across the EU based on quotas.