The devastating economic toll the coronavirus crisis is taking around the world could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, Jagan Chapagain, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in an interview with AFP.
He said his organization was deeply concerned about the secondary effects of the pandemic.
“What we hear is that many people who are losing livelihoods, once the borders start opening, will feel compelled to move,” Chapagain warned.
The pandemic and the lockdowns and border closures imposed to contain the spread of the virus have been destroying livelihoods around the planet and are expected to drive many millions more into poverty, Red Cross chief said.
Many people are already faced with the choice of risking exposure to coronavirus or going hungry, Chapagain said.
He also warned that the desperation being generated could have far-reaching consequences.
“We should not be surprised if there is a massive impact on migration in the coming months and years.”
More migration forced on people by desperate circumstances, he told AFP, will result in numerous “tragedies along the way”, including more deaths at sea, human trafficking, and exploitation.