The coronavirus crisis could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, the head of the Red Cross has warned. The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, said he was deeply concerned about the secondary effects of the pandemic, as border closures and Covid-19 restrictions have driven millions into poverty.
Many people are already faced with the choice of risking exposure to the novel coronavirus or going hungry, Chapagain said, warning that the desperation being generated could have far-reaching consequences.
“…Many people who are losing livelihoods, once the borders start opening, will feel compelled to move,” he said. “We should not be surprised if there is a massive impact on migration in the coming months and years.”
Chapagain also condemned efforts in some countries to secure vaccines for their own people first: “The virus crosses the border, so it is pretty short-sighted to think that I vaccinate my people but leave everybody else without vaccination, and we will still be safe,” he said.
The warnings came as the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,strongly criticized the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo’s comment that the WHO health agency chief having been bought by China. “The comments are untrue and unacceptable, and without any foundation for that matter,” Tedros said. “If there is one thing that really matters to us and which should matter to the entire international community, it’s saving lives. And WHO will not be distracted by these comments.”