Defence minister: bunkers could house 50,000 migrants

Defence Minister Ueli Maurer in the civil protection bunker in Worb Keystone

Switzerland could accommodate 50,000 people at short notice if the number of migrants in Switzerland were to dramatically increase, says Defence Minister Ueli Maurer. 

This content was published on October 2, 2015 - 09:16 and agencies

Speaking in a civil protection bunker in Worb, outside the capital, Bern, Maurer said that although only few migrants had so far come to Switzerland compared with Germany, Austria or Hungary, “we can’t rule out that Switzerland could become a destination land within days or hours”. 

In such an emergency situation, he said the communes and cantons could help out by making their protection bunkers available. Of the 150,000 places, around a third could be ready rapidly. 

“The situation would be chaotic and not geared to a period of several months,” he said. “But we could offer a roof and a warm meal to tens of thousands of people.”

About 3,000 asylum seekers currently live in underground bunkers across the country. 

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