Number of children crossing Darien jungle hits record high
October 12, 2021 - A record number of migrant children have crossed the dangerous Darien Gap jungle between Colombia and Panama this year on their way to the United States, according to UNICEF.
The UN children’s agency said 19,000 minors faced the rigours of the jungle between January and September. At least one in five of the migrants who walked the area, which is filled with wild animals and dotted with criminals, are children, of which half were under the age of five.
The number of children who crossed the Darien Gap is almost three times higher than the total for the previous five years, the agency said.
Five children have been found dead in 2021, while another 150, including some newborns, arrived in Panama without their parents – a nearly 20-time increase compared to last year, UNICEF said.
The economic crises in Latin America and pandemic-related restrictions led more than 67,000 people, the majority of them Haitians, to cross the Darien between January and August, according to the National Migration Service of Panama.