Panama: at least 39 dead in the accident of a migrant bus

The passengers were heading to Costa Rica, from where they intended to continue their journey to the United States. At least 39 people died on Wednesday, February 15, in Panama, in the collision between a migrant bus and a minibus, Panamanian authorities announced.

The accident occurred in Gualaca, in the province of Chiriqui, some 400 km west of the capital Panama. Migrants traveling on board the coach “were transported from the Darien [la jungle frontalière avec la Colombie] to an inn”said the head of state, Laurentino Cortizo.

There is “more than five children” among the injured and their state of health is “worrying”the Ministry of Health added in a statement.

A very dangerous jungle for migrants

According to local media, the bus driver did not stop at the hostel near the town of Guacala where the migrants were to stop before continuing their journey to Costa Rica. When he wanted to turn around, the vehicle collided with a minibus. The shock was terribly violent.

Migrants often arrive in Panama after crossing on foot, at the risk of their lives, the Darien jungle, straddling Colombia and Panama and devoid of roads. Their enemies are not only snakes and mosquitoes, but also gangs of criminals, who attack them to rob them. Many of them thus disappeared into the jungle while women and adolescent girls were raped.

According to the director of the Panamanian Institute of Forensic Medicine, José Vicente Pachar, at least 60 migrants died in 2022 while trying to cross the Darien.

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