EFE (via 14ymedio), Geneva, 17 January 2023 — At least 36 migrants died in 2022 when they tried to cross the Darien jungle, on the border between Panama and Colombia, one of the most dangerous routes in the world, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
The figure, derived from data from the Missing Migrants Project (which provides daily updates on people who perish on migration routes around the globe) is possibly “only a small fraction of the true number of lives lost” in that area, warns the IOM in a statement.
“Many migrants die in the Darién Gap without their remains being recovered or [anyone] notified,” stresses the organization, which calls for the establishment of “safe, orderly and regular alternative routes to prevent migrants from being in a situation of vulnerability.”
IOM also calls for investigation into human smuggling networks, as well as increased investment and support in migrant host communities.
The United Nations agency gives this figure a week after the Panamanian government reported that in 2022 the number of migrants who crossed the Darién almost doubled compared to 2021, rising to almost 250,000 (including 150,000 Venezuelans, 29,000 Ecuadorians, 22,000 Haitians and almost 6,000 Cubans).
This increase, the IOM affirms, “coincides with the deterioration of economic and social conditions in the countries of origin and throughout Latin America,” a situation that according to the organization must be responded to “with a coordinated regional response and international cooperation to face the urgent humanitarian needs.”
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