Asylum seekers bunk down in emergency shelters

by Sophie Douez,

Under pressure from federal authorities to find housing for increasing numbers of asylum claimants, cantons are turning to emergency bunkers as a solution.
The issue came to a head this week with police in Neuchâtel forced to intervene when members of a group of 31 claimants refused to move from hostel housing to a bunker which had been opened to make way for new arrivals.

“It’s true that it’s a civil protection measure which by definition does not have windows, which has living conditions which are more about survival,” head of the Neuchâtel migration service Serge Gamma told

“It’s the only place we could make available given the urgency of the situation.”

Federal authorities have estimated that events in North Africa and the Middle East could lead to an additional 200 to 700 claims being lodged in Switzerland per month. They have asked the cantons to be ready to receive up to 5,000 extra asylum seekers.

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