The government only has 1,200 to a maximum of 1,800 places per month for refugees coming from Arab lands hit by unrest, the Federal Migration Office says.
In a newspaper interview, Eveline Gugger Bruckdorfer, a deputy director at the office, said that once the limit was reached migrants would have to be distributed among the cantons. The cantons have in the past weeks been protesting against such a move.
“If very many refugees come, we’ll have an absolute emergency situation,” Gugger Bruckdorfer told the Der Sonntag newspaper. Communal bunkers would have to be used.
The government is looking for solutions, she said, but “in the end, the cantons will have to increase their capacities”.
The justice minister, Simonetta Sommaruga – who recently attended a European Union meeting on dealing with the possible wave of refugees from countries such as Libya, Egypt and Tunisia – has reiterated on Swiss public radio that there was no need for panic in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the head of the Swiss Border Guards, Jürg Noth, has spoken out against having soldiers at Swiss frontiers, as some politicians want. He told the Le Matin Dimanche newspaper that he could, however, envisage army support in logistics or for air surveillance.