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Migrants who survived the accident in Panama do not lose hope

David (Panama), March 17 (EFE).- “Being saved means a lot, a lot, I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity,” Edison Figueroa, a bus accident survivor from Ecuador, told EFE. He is still recovering. In February, 39 people died in Panama, most of them migrants like him who dreamed of coming to the United States.

On February 15, Figueroa was traveling on a bus carrying 66 migrants from the jungle province of Darien, on the Colombian border, to a similar bus in northern Chiriqui, on the Costa Rican border, and which, according to the latest official figures, crashed and killed 37 migrants and two Panamanians.

The bodies, which have not been claimed by their relatives, will be buried this Friday in David, the capital of Chiriqui, where the accident happened.

Figueroa, who has a scar on his forehead and is recuperating with other survivors at a Catholic shelter run by Red Clamor for migrants in Chiriqui, recalled that two friends traveling with him did not share the same fate.

“Two of my friends I traveled with are dead, dead, and I’m the only one alive. I’m a little sad, very sad, very nostalgic, but I can’t do anything but thank God for saving me,” said this Ecuadorian, who abandoned his gastronomy studies to pursue the American dream and then opened his own business. country.

He only regained consciousness this Monday after being taken to hospital where he underwent surgery for a severe fracture to his left arm and a cut to his forehead.

Destiny, United States

Last year, 248,284 migrants crossed the Darien jungle, an unprecedented number for the Venezuelan exodus, and 58,000 have already crossed this year, five times the number for the same period in 2022, according to the first official figures. Sunday of March.

Panama registers migrants crossing the jungle and offers them health and food assistance in shelters located in Darien province, where humanitarian organizations are based.

Migrants are then bussed to another installation along the Costa Rican border to continue their journey to North America.

Many people die in transit through the dangerous jungles of Darien, victims of accidents, robberies and disease.

“Why are you lying to him, it’s ugly. It was a trip I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Because it’s ugly, you see everything there, theft, death, rape, you see everything,” Venezuelan Victor Medina, 35, who was injured in a car accident in Chiriqui, told EFE.

Even so, Medina will not give up on his desire to go for American gold once he recovers from his injuries. “It is my destiny to reach the United States.”

Also Venezuelan Diogman Ruiz does not remember anything about the accident: he “fell asleep” and woke up in the hospital. There he learned that his mother and stepfather died in an accident. He will continue in the United States because “it was what his mother wanted, it was her dream.”

Accompanying and solidarity with migrants

The Red Clamor shelter currently houses 35 people, including survivors who have already been discharged from the hospital, relatives who come from their countries of origin to accompany patients or to introduce their deceased relatives, and others who are relatives who were at the same site. Convoy, but not in the same wrecked bus.

As Rafael Lara, Red Clamor’s national coordinator in Panama, explained to EFE, “Accompanying migrants is always a challenge, especially to learn from the emotions of the stories they tell, especially of their experiences in the jungle.”

“The story we’ve heard from the migrants in this accident has not gone down well. These were heartbreaking stories,” he said.

Source: El Diario





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