22K more migrants through Darien than at this time last year.

The increase in migrants through the Darién on their way to the US or Canada in search of better living conditions has been progressive since 2021, reaching the record number of more than 520,000 last year

More than 68,400 migrants have crossed the Darién jungle, the dangerous border between Panama and Colombia used daily by pedestrians on their way to North America, so far in 2024, some 22,673 more compared to the same period last year, according to reports this Sunday the Panamanian authorities.

“More than 68,400 people have passed through Panama, since it is a transit country,” said the Minister of Public Security of Panama, Juan Manuel Pino, in a video broadcast on X.

As of February 25, 2023, authorities reported that a total of 45,727 migrants had crossed the Darién, which represents an increase of 22,673 people compared to the same period this year.

The increase in migrants through the Darién on their way to the US or Canada in search of better living conditions has been progressive since 2021, reaching a record number of more than 520,000 last year.

For this year, an increase in migrants in transit along this dangerous route of up to 20% is expected. Given this, Minister Pino has previously warned that to “counteract this action”, Panama’s security establishments have reinforced a campaign – which began in December 2023 and was extended until next July – with more “land, naval and and air that generate a greater blockade on the border with Colombia.”

The immigration authorities of Panama have also warned that they will continue with the deportations of those migrants who “have a criminal record.”

The route through the Darién is plagued with dangers such as attacks by wild animals, snake bites, river flooding due to torrential rains, or robberies and monkfish.

On February 14, at least five Afghan migrants, including a minor, died when the boat carrying 27 passengers – Afghans and Venezuelans – shipwrecked in the Caribbean, in which they were traveling to avoid crossing the Darien. The rescuers found lifeless bodies “stranded” in a rocky area.

The Panamanian authorities reported that this precarious wooden boat was sailed “by criminals in a reckless manner” on a day of bad weather in an area that was very complex for navigation “due to the strong waves.”

The Government of Panama insists that migration through the Darién is a “business” of organized crime for profit, since last year – according to figures from the Ministry of Security of Panama -, they “earned” 820 million dollars moving migrants through the jungle from Darien.

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