Increase in child migrants passing through dangerous Darien Gap between Panama, Colombia: UN

While underage migrants made up only about 2% of those using the jungle corridor in 2017, in 2020 children comprised 25% of the migrants making the hard trek on foot, UNICEF's report said.
Over the last four years, at least 46,500 migrants had made the trek including 6,240 minors.(Bloomberg | Representational image)
Over the last four years, at least 46,500 migrants had made the trek including 6,240 minors.(Bloomberg | Representational image)
Published on Mar 30, 2021 03:25 AM IST
Copy Link
AP | , Panama City

The number of child migrants passing through the perilous Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama has risen dramatically, the UN child welfare agency said Monday.

While underage migrants made up only about 2% of those using the jungle corridor in 2017, in 2020 children comprised 25% of the migrants making the hard trek on foot, UNICEF's report said.

The Darien Gap is a 60-mile (97-kilometer) stretch of roadless jungle that provides the only land route north out of South America. There is little food or shelter on the week-long trek and bandits and wild animals prey on migrants.

Most migrants making the hike are from Haiti or Cuba, with smaller numbers from African nations such as Cameroon and Congo and South Asian countries India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“I have seen women coming out of the jungle with babies in their arms after walking for more than seven days without water, food or any type of protection,” said Jean Gough, the UNICEF regional director who made a two-day trip to the zone.

“These families go beyond their limits and put their lives at risk, often without realizing the risks they are taking,” Gough said.

While only 109 children made the journey in 2017, that swelled to 3,956 in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic and travel restriction reduced both adult and child numbers in 2020, with the latter falling to 1,653.

Over the last four years, a total of at least 46,500 migrants had made the trek, and in total for those years they included 6,240 minors.

The US government has been facing an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors and families with children arriving at its southern border in recent months. Last week there were around 18,000 unaccompanied children in government custody.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • US President Joe Biden.

    Joe Biden to host leaders of Sweden, Finland amid NATO bids

    President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland at the White House for a meeting Thursday amid their push to join NATO in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The White House said they would discuss the two countries' applications to join the mutual defense alliance, as well as European security broadly.

  • Britain's flag.

    One in four Britons skips meals, finds report. Here's why

    The cost-of-living squeeze in Britain has led to two in three people in the country turning off their heating, almost half are driving less or changing supermarkets and just over a quarter say they have skipped meals, a survey showed. Among people on lower incomes, one in three people say they have missed meals recently because of the surge in inflation, polling firm Ipsos said on Tuesday.

  • An Air Canada plane is seen in the air after departing from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday. (REUTERS)

    India’s missions in Canada reach out to students after spate of incidents

    India's missions in Canada are enhancing their outreach to students from India as their numbers balloon along with a spate of incidents, including accidents, suicides, even murders. The latest such tragedy was reported on Sunday, when Peel Regional Police found the body of 20-year-old Navkiran Singh from Moga district in Punjab drowned in the Credit Valley River in Brampton in the Greater Toronto Area. No cause has yet been attributed for the death.

  • Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

    Sri Lankan Parl defeats no-confidence motion by Oppn against President Gotabaya

    A no-confidence motion tabled by the Opposition against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defeated in Parliament on Tuesday, media reports said. The motion by Opposition Tamil National Alliance MP M A Sumanthiran to suspend Parliament's standing orders in order to debate an expression of displeasure over President Rajapaksa was defeated with 119 MPs voting against it, the Economy Next newspaper reported. Only 68 MPs voted in favour of the motion, it said.

  • Experts say that India’s decision, coupled with the Ukraine war will create a serious problem globally.

    US envoy urges India to ‘reconsider’ wheat export ban: ‘Will worsen...’

    The United States hopes “India would reconsider” its decision to ban wheat exports which “will make the current global food shortage even worse”, an envoy said on Monday amid concerns with no end in sight for the Ukraine war. Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven nations on Saturday also emphasised that India's decision to ban wheat exports would worsen the global food shortage.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 17, 2022