More than 5,000 children crossed the inhospitable Panamanian Forest of Darien in 2022, twice the number of children who crossed this perilous route into the United States in the same period the previous year. UNICEF This Friday (17).
“We are in the middle of the rainy season now and our teams in the field are seeing a massive increase in the number of children putting their lives at risk and crossing the forest on foot in the worst weather conditions,” warned Jean Goff, Director of UNICEF for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“More and more boys and girls are being forced to flee their homes as the only viable option for survival,” Goff added in a statement.
secondly UNICEFFrom January 1 to May 31, more than 5,000 children crossed the Daren River, double the number in the same period in 2021. Additionally, in May 2022, 2,000 children crossed the forest, four times as many as in May 2021.
a UNICEF Highlight that too Approximately 170 children were unaccompanied or separated from their families. Some did not even have an ID or a birth certificate.
“What we are seeing is that there is a significant increase” in the number of minors in the forest, despite the fact that “there are many risks,” said Laurent Duvillier, head of regional communications at UNICEF.
“Children are arriving in precarious conditions and need medical care due to dehydration, skin infections and trauma from what they have seen such as sexual harassment and extortion or who have died on the way,” he added.
El Tapón del Darién, 5,000 square kilometers of rainforest on the border between Panama and Colombiaa corridor for illegal immigrants trying to cross Central America from South America to the United States.
There are no roads on this road and migrants must face flowing rivers, wild animals and criminal gangs. According to official data, in 2021, more than 133,000 people crossed there, mostly Haitians and Cubans. Almost a quarter of them are children.
In 2022, more than 32,000 people crossed their paths, twice the number in the same period in 2021. Now most of them are Venezuelans.
to me UNICEFThe situation caused crowding of centers set up by the Panamanian government to serve these immigrants.
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