Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

Record number of children crossed Darien Gap this year

Also, to the lack of water and safe food, insect bites, attacks by wild animals and overflowing rivers.


In the first 10 months of this year, 32,488 migrant children crossed the jungle and extremely dangerous Darién Gap, between Colombia and Panama, and half of them were under five years of age, reported the United Nations Fund for Human Rights Childhood (Unicef).

Better living conditions

“Violence, poverty and the hope of finding better living conditions push families with children to flee their homes. And face threats in inhospitable environments such as the Darien Gap,” said Hannan Sulieman, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, during a field visit.

The new figure from Unicef ​​exceeds by 10% the total maximum previously recorded, in 2021.  Of children crossing that 5,000-square-kilometre jungle, heading to the United States as their final destination.

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Additionally, a record number of unaccompanied children, is estimated at around 900. Crossed the Darién in 10 months of 2022, quadrupling the total for the previous year.

The report highlights that during each day of trekking through the jungle. Children and families are exposed to multiple forms of violence. Including sexual abuse, trafficking and exploitation.

Also, to the lack of water and safe food, insect bites, attacks by wild animals and overflowing rivers.

Migrant children

Children under the age of five, who make up around 50% of all migrant children, are especially vulnerable to diarrhoea, dehydration and other communicable diseases.

In addition, the stress and danger associated with such a perilous journey leave many children at risk of emotional trauma. Deprived for months, and perhaps years, of education, health and nutrition services, and even identity documents.

From January to October of this year, according to Unicef ​​data. 15% of the 211,355 migrants who crossed the Darién Gap to continue to their destination were children. 89,585 more than in the same period of 2021.

Panama reported that the largest number, 148,285 (70%), were Venezuelans, 15,185 Ecuadorians, and 12,328 Haitians. The flow of migrants from Venezuela has decreased since the United States decided on October 12.

Disappearance in the Darién jungle

In the period January-October, the death or disappearance in the Darién jungle of 35 people was registered: 12 women, 11 men and 12 children.

When reporting the death or disappearance of 117 people between 2019 and 2021 in the Darién. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned that “anecdotal reports indicate that large numbers of migrants die in the Darién Gap and their remains are never found”.

For this reason “the figures presented probably reflect only a small fraction of the true number of lives lost.”

Unicef ​​also reported that with the support of the governments of the United States, Panama and the European Union, it established five reception centers for migrants, on the Panamanian borders with Colombia and Costa Rica, and in this capital.

Hygiene supplies

The centers provide clean water, hygiene supplies, health and psychosocial services to children and pregnant women on the move. As well as host communities living in extreme poverty, the UN agency said.

Sulieman said that “in Panama, as in many other countries. An increase in the number of migrant children has overwhelmed the capacity to provide basic services in response to their specific needs.”

On the other hand, he reiterated that UNICEF “urges all governments to take measures to protect all migrant children. Regardless of their origin. Children should never be returned to situations where their basic safety and well-being are at risk.”

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