247 Children Cross “El Darién” Every Day: 2024 Projects a 40% Increase in Minors Migrating

    A fact that raises alarms among authorities

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    If the trends in 2024 continue, the year would close with 800,000 migrants crossing the Darién Forest – between Colombia and Panama. Of them, 160,000 would be children or adolescents, a fact that raises alarms among authorities, considering in 2023 the count reached 113,000.

    As an example, it is enough to compare that between January and April of this year, 30,000 minors crossed, which implies an increase of 40% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to Unicef ​​calculations.It also stands out that underage travelers are increasing at a rate five times greater than that of adults.

    The data confirms a growing trend that has been sustained for 5 consecutive years. This has been defined as “a prolonged crisis,” says Unicef.A striking fact is that of the children detected this year, 2,000 made the journey separated or unaccompanied from their families. The figure tripled in the last year.

    Not a place for children

    “The Darien jungle is not a place for children. Many children and adolescents have died on this arduous and dangerous journey. There are women who give birth along the way and bring new lives into the world in the most complicated circumstances,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.

    Special help for minors

    The fact that minors are increasing their presence in migratory fluids demands more assistance for their care.“Many of the people who survive the trip arrive sick, hungry and dehydrated, often with wounds or infections and urgently need help,” Chaiban said.

    “Children and adolescents represent a fifth of those who make this journey; UNICEF’s presence and response are more important than ever. It is essential that we have adequate financing, which allows us to be ready to provide help to these boys and girls, regardless of their country of origin or destination,” the organization added.

    Part of their analysis also goes through the psychological part they face crossing rivers and seeing people injured, hungry or in worse conditions.In general, attempts are made to serve this group with water, sanitation and hygiene services, child protection, case management, maternal and child health and gender violence at critical points located along this migratory route.

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