An alarming report from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reveals that the migration crisis in the Darien Gap has reached critical levels in 2023, with nearly 500,000 people crossing the perilous jungle that marks the border between Colombia and Panama. This number, more than double those recorded in 2022 and 2021, highlights the severity of the humanitarian situation in Latin America.
The number of migrants who have traversed the over 100 kilometers of the Darien Gap is equivalent to more than 11% of Panama’s population, according to Luis Eguiliz, MSF’s general coordinator for Colombia and Panama. This escalating crisis, year after year, has surpassed all historical highs, underscoring the lack of global and regional attention.
What do the experts say?
According to MSF, most migrants come from Venezuela and Haiti, reflecting the direct consequences of social, political, and economic crises in these nations. Additionally, migrants from various nationalities have been recorded, including Ecuador, Chile, Burkina Faso, China, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Cameroon, all sharing the same goal: reaching the United States.
The journey through the Darien Gap not only involves natural risks but also exposes migrants to additional dangers, such as sexual violence and kidnappings perpetrated by criminal organizations present in the jungle.
Conditions of vulnerability begin before migrants enter the jungle, with testimonies revealing hunger, lack of shelter and water, excessive charges, misinformation, scams, xenophobia, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence along their journey northward.
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The migration crisis in the Darien Gap is a human dilemma between facing difficulties in home countries or risking the perils of the migration route to the United States. Although 2023 has recorded record numbers, experts predict that, if the trend persists, the migration crisis will be even more intense next year.
With at least 1,078 people missing on the migration routes in the Americas in 2023, the region faces an unprecedented challenge. The International Organization for Migration emphasizes that the Americas host some of the most dangerous routes for land migration, including the U.S.-Mexico border crossing and the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia.
The situation requires immediate attention and sustainable solutions to address the roots of this complex migration crisis in the Americas.
Our source for this text: France24.
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