A total of 204,986 irregular migrants bound for USA have crossed so far this year the Darien junglethe dangerous border between Colombia and Panama, in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the region, according to statistics from the Panamanian authorities provided to EFE this Sunday.
This is an unprecedented figure, much higher than the 133,726 in 2021, which already set a record at the time by being higher than all the crossings of the previous decade through the jungle, a risky irregular migration route used for decades by people coming from all over the world.
LOOK: Thousands of Venezuelans risk through the deadly Darién to reach the US: “That jungle is hell” | PHOTOS
According to data from the National Migration Service (SNM) of Panama, of the 204,986 people who have crossed the jungle between January 1 and October 22 of this year, 71.8% or 147,203 are Venezuelans. The rest are nationals of some thirty American, African and Asian countries.
Only between October 1 and 22, 53,404 irregular migrants (39,834 Venezuelans) were counted, an unprecedented number that leaves behind the 48,204 in September, the 31,104 in August, the 22,822 in July, the 15,633 in June and the 13,894 in May. .
It was from last May that there was a jump in the number of irregular travelers crossing the jungle this year: there were 4,702 in January; 4,262 in February, 4,827 in March and 6,134 in April.
In this migratory wave there are entire families with children and even babies. Many of the Venezuelans and Haitians come from second or third countries, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile or Brazil, where they had already settled or at least had tried to.
ARRIVALS DOWN AFTER US ANNOUNCEMENT
Panama receives irregular travelers at migratory reception stations (ERM) located on the border with Colombia and Costa Rica, where they take their biometric data and receive food and medical attention.
In the midst of this crisis, more than 2,500 daily arrivals have been recorded lately, a figure that began to drop after the United States announced a new policy for Venezuelan migrants on October 12: everyone who arrives in the country after having irregularly crossed the border of Panama or Mexico will be expelled immediately to Mexican territory.
But this Saturday 1,223 irregular migrants arrived at the Darién shelters, the SNM told EFE this Sunday.
The Foreign Minister of Panama, Janaina Tewaney, said last Friday that “three days ago the crossing” of irregular migrants “was 2,665, one day after 1,522 and yesterday (Thursday) 1,213. It seems that it was going down” the flow of travelers.
He supported the premise of Panama that the humanitarian crisis derived from this high migratory flow must be approached from the perspective of “shared responsibility”, and therefore promotes upcoming bilateral and multilateral meetings in search of “concrete” regional actions.
VENEZUELANS LOOK FOR A PLANE TICKET TO RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRY
Several hundred Venezuelan migrants who want to return to their country are in a “temporary shelter” set up by the Venezuelan Embassy in the Panamanian capital, while they are granted a safe conduct and/or financial support so that they can return to their country via aerial.
Many of them crowded into Panama’s main airport, Tocumen, looking for a ticket on Saturday, but were whisked away on buses to the “temporary shelter.” Some denounced a disproportionate rise in the cost of airfare.
Chancellor Tewaney said on Friday that “the voluntary return” of these irregular migrants “is being coordinated through the Foreign Ministry, Migration and the Venezuelan Mission in Panama, which has taken responsibility” for the matter and several hundred had already returned to their homes. country on charter flights.
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