The Panama Prosecutor’s Office reported this Wednesday that it will begin to bury next Friday the unclaimed bodies of deceased migrants in it tragic bus accident last February, in which at least 39 people died, the worst tragedy of its kind in the country.
The bodies will be buried in David, in the province of Chiriquí bordering Costa Rica, near where the accident occurred, according to a statement from the Public Ministry.
At the moment, 18 "bodies are kept in the judicial morgue in David district" and "At the same time, the relatives of the victims have been sent belongings that were located at the accident site."said the Prosecutor’s Office.
He also indicated that today they delivered "five bodies, corresponding to Venezuelan citizens"which brings to 21 the number of corpses, of Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan, Ecuadorian and Panamanian nationality given to their relatives.
María Eugenia Batista, a researcher from Gualaca, the area where the accident occurred, explained that "are in contact with Cameroonian authorities, in order to proceed with the delivery of the remains of their nationals in the next few hours".
On February 15, a bus carrying 66 migrants from a shelter in Darién, the dangerous border with Colombia, to another in Chiriquí, had an accident, causing the death of 37 migrants and two Panamanians, according to the latest official data, which lowers the Previous figure of 40 deaths.
More than a week later, another bus with 57 migrants chartered by the Panamanian authorities to transport migrants to the border with Costa Rica caught fire, with no deaths or injuries, and was completely burned.
Hundreds of irregular migrants from numerous countries arrive in Panama daily after crossing several South American nations and the dangerous Darien jungle on their way to North America in search of better living conditions.
Last year, 248,284 migrants crossed the jungle, an unprecedented number driven by the Venezuelan exodus, while this year some 58,000 have already passed through it, a number 5 times higher than the same period in 2022, according to official figures up to the first week of March.
The Panamanian authorities have already indicated that, if this trend continues, in 2023 the number of migrants in transit through the country could reach 400,000.
Panama registers migrants who cross the jungle and offers them health and food assistance in shelters, located in the province of Darién, where there is a presence of humanitarian organizations.
After that, the migrants are transferred by buses, paid for by themselves, to another shelter in Chiriquí, so that they continue on their way to North America.