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HomeTopicsLatin AmericaMigrants from Across the Globe Traverse Darién Gap

Migrants from Across the Globe Traverse Darién Gap

The dense and treacherous Darién Gap, a 266 km long stretch of jungle bordering Colombia and Panama, has witnessed a significant surge in the number of migrants attempting to reach the United States and Canada illegally.

According to Panama’s Ministry of Public Security, a staggering 109,069 irregular migrants traversed this perilous route in the first quarter of 2024, a notable increase from the 87,390 recorded during the same period in 2023.

The ministry, in a statement released on the social media platform X, provided a breakdown of the migrant influx. January saw 36,001 individuals brave the unforgiving terrain, followed by 37,165 in February and 35,903 in March.

The majority of these migrants hailed from Venezuela, with 69,568 Venezuelans making the arduous journey. Ecuadorians (8,912), Haitians (7,253), and Colombians (7,030) also comprised a significant portion of the migrant population.

Comparing these figures to the first quarter of 2023 highlights the escalating nature of this migration crisis. During that period, 87,390 migrants crossed the Darién Gap, with Venezuelans (30,250), Haitians (23,243), and Ecuadorians (14,328) being the most prevalent nationalities.

The Darién Gap, spanning an area of 575,000 hectares, has transformed into a major transit point for migrants originating from South America, all of whom are driven by the hope of reaching the United States and Canada.

The year 2023 bore witness to an unprecedented surge, with over 520,000 individuals embarking on this treacherous journey. Disturbingly, the authorities reported that approximately 120,000 of these migrants were minors.

Panama’s National Migration Service shed further light on the composition of the migrant population in 2023. Venezuelans constituted the majority, with 328,650 individuals, followed by Ecuadorians (57,250), Haitians (46,422), and Chinese (25,565). The diversity of the migrant population is further underscored by the presence of individuals from India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nepal, and various African nations, such as Cameroon and Angola.

The harrowing reality of this migration crisis is exemplified by the age range of those undertaking the perilous journey. From infants just weeks old to the elderly, the Darién Gap spares no one in its unforgiving embrace. Official reports paint a grim picture of the human toll exacted by this desperate pursuit of a better life.

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