The official numbers provided to the press by Panama’s National Migration Service indicate that the arrivals of immigrants increased four-fold compared to the same period last year, and this figure has swiftly increased every month from January to April, including 76 percent of immigrants coming from the Antilles, mainly from Haiti.
Other immigrants come from South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Central America, who venture to cross one of the most dangerous jungles in the world, where an undetermined number of migrants lose their lives every year.
It is noteworthy that 16 percent of these irregular immigrants are minors, a situation warned by the regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which revealed a remarkable increase in the crossing of boys, girls and teenagers in the past four years.
‘I have seen women coming out of the jungle with their babies in their arms after walking for more than seven days without water, food or any kind of protection,’ regional UNICEF Director Jean Gough said in March, when he claimed that these families put their lives in danger, without realizing it. ‘Those who can eventually cross this dangerous border are physically and mentally devastated. Their humanitarian needs are immediate and immense. At the same time, we cannot forget the harsh situation of the communities where they arrive, which are overwhelmed and do not often have basic services,’ she said.