PANAMA CITY (AP) — The number of migrant children crossing the dangerous Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama has skyrocketed, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Friday.
UNICEF said that in May 2021, 500 children were detected crossing the jungle trail. But in May 2022, that number increased to 2,000.
The fund estimates that some 5,000 children have crossed the Darien Gap so far this year. Plagued with wild animals, swollen rivers, rough terrain, and thieves, the gap claims many lives.
Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “Right now, we are in the middle of the rainy season, and our teams on the ground are seeing a massive increase in children and adolescents risking their lives. lives and cross the jungle in the worst weather conditions.”
The total number of migrants who crossed the land bridge between South and North America has doubled, with around 32,000 crossing so far this year, compared to 16,000 in 2021.
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