Panama rocked by tragic accident involving irregular migrants

Panama rocked by tragic accident involving irregular migrants

Regarding the incident in Gualaca, Chiriquí, the government disclosed the nationalities of the travelers, including 42 men and 24 women, who traveled from Darién province to Los Planes immigration station.

The official report states that among the migrants were 22 Ecuadorians, 16 Haitians and 11 Venezuelans, the three nationalities with the largest presence.

They also identified citizens of Brazil (six), Colombia (five), Cameroon (two), Cuba (two), Eritrea (one) and Nigeria (one). A total of 20 minors were on the move: 12 boys and eight girls, this text adds. The Presidency of the Republic also pointed out that specialized personnel from the Ministry of State are conducting medical studies to identify the lifeless bodies that have been rescued and that all the resources available in the hospitals of this western region are being dedicated to the care of the survivors.

It also notes that the rigorous investigation to identify all of the deceased is ongoing due to the condition in which the bodies were left.

This week the governments of Cuba, Colombia and Ecuador expressed their solidarity with the Isthmus over the tragedy.

The Antilles’ foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, expressed “his heartfelt condolences” to the families and relatives of the victims of the unfortunate road accident in Gualaca, Panama, involving irregular migrants, including Cuban nationals.

Rodríguez insisted that “Cuba reaffirms its enduring commitment to regular, safe and orderly migration,” noting that the island’s embassy in that country “maintains communication with the relevant authorities to identify victims of Cuban nationality.” and to provide our compatriots with the necessary consular assistance to their families.

For its part, the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its heartfelt condolences to the families of the Colombian victims and those of several sister countries, and announced that it would provide the appropriate assistance.

Regarding the incident, Ecuador identified at least seven people of that nationality among those injured.

This was the first official assessment Quito has offered on the status of the 22 compatriots who were traveling on the damaged bus following the identity verification process carried out between the Ecuadorian and Panamanian authorities.

Meanwhile, the director of the National Migration Service, Samira Gozaine, explained that “the bus driver passed the entrance to the shelter and turned to return,” after which he collided with another vehicle and fell down a slope.

Gozaine stressed that the causes of the accident were being investigated by the Transport Operations Directorate of the National Police.

Public Safety Secretary Juan Manuel Pino also said that so far this year 37,000 migrants have passed through the Darien Jungle on their way to the United States as part of a constant flow, he noted.

In 2022, 248,284 irregular migrants passed through this border area between Panama and Colombia, a number that surpasses the record set in 2021 when 133,726 people were reported.