MEXICO: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
Concerns over the safety of migrants in Mexico are mounting following a truck crash in the southern border state of Chiapas that claimed the lives of 53 migrants, mostly from Guatemala, and police clashes with migrants outside the capital of Mexico City. Authorities indicate that the crash’s high number of fatalities, one of the worst single-day death tolls for migrants in Mexico since drug cartels massacred 72 migrants in 2010, owes to the migrant smuggling practice of overcrowding freight trucks.
Shortly after the crash, a migrant caravan that departed Chiapas in October clashed with security forces near Mexico City. Mexico has routinely deployed security forces to deter the groups amid steadily rising numbers of migrants headed to the northern border with the US, forcing migrants to increasingly resort to extensive trafficking and smuggling operations. Official figures indicate that Mexico has seen more than 228,100 migrants enter their country between January and October 2021, nearly three times as many as in all of 2020.
Officials are responding to flooding in the eastern state of Bahia that has caused 10 deaths, displaced 21,570 people and affected at least 220,300 people. Parts of the state have seen heavy rains since mid-November 2021 due to an extratropical cyclone, resulting in flooding and landslides. The Government has recognized a state of emergency in at least 51 cities in Bahia. Military personnel, who are conducting rescue and evacuation operations, civil defence and fire brigades are all supporting ongoing relief operations.
Heavy week-long rainfall in the coastal Pomeroon-Supenaam region (Region 2) is affecting more than 2,000 people, with several affected families relocating to higher ground. Authorities expect the rains’ impact on farming livelihoods to be severe, especially for those who recovered from May 2021 floods that affected all 10 regions in Guyana. The Civil Defence Commission (CDC), who are currently undertaking assessments, delivered 1,475 cleaning kits to shelterees and 20,000 water purification tablets to flood-affected residents.
According to PAHO, 2021 has seen triple the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to 2020, noting the increased burden on hospitals and need for medicines and supplies. At present, Central America and Mexico are seeing a reduction in cases, except for Panama, where cases have been steadily increasing during December.
In South America, cases are dropping in Bolivia for the first time since September, while Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay are seeing cases grow again. Cases are down across most of the Caribbean, although Trinidad and Tobago recorded its highest weekly case count and Saint Lucia recorded a 66 per cent growth in cases in the past week.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.