Migrants take advantage of the drought in the Suchiate River to cross from Central America to Mexico

Tapachula (Mexico), April 3 (EFE).- Drought has halved the level of the Suchiate River, which separates Mexico from Central America, where migrants are taking advantage of falling tributaries and a shortage of border agents to cross the border. .

The shore looks deserted, and where there used to be enough water, now the rafters, who usually bring people from Guatemala to the Mexican city of Tapachula, dig up the earth and use sandbags to navigate the depths.

In the same place, according to EFE, there are no agents of the National Institute of Migration (INM), the National Guard (GN) or any body monitoring the entry of migrants.

Vicente Castro, a research professor at the Autonomous University of Chiapas (Unach), cited the latest review of the National Water Commission (Conagua) on the Soconusco water table, which includes the Suchiate River, which states that it has lost almost 50%. of its original volume.

“Since 2010, the flow of rivers has decreased, which is why it has decreased. In particular, the case of the Suchiate river has the additional connotation that it is a border river that, by having a very low flow, allows the movement of people and goods to be much easier,” he told EFE.

Between the water crisis and the migration crisis

In Chiapas alone, the southern border state where Tapachula is located, more than half of the area is in drought, according to the National Water Commission’s Drought Monitor (Conagua), which warns that nearly 60% of Mexico is experiencing drought. The degree of drought is moderate to severe.

As the Suchiate River shows, the water crisis is affecting the phenomenon of migration in Mexico, which marks an almost 77% increase in illegal migration in 2023, with more than 782,000 undocumented aliens identified.

Venezuelan Rafael Uzcategui is one of the migrants who placed pieces of wood next to a stream to dry his and his family’s clothes, where he said temperatures above 30 degrees have left them dehydrated as they lack sleep and water.

“The river is dry, (you cannot) swim in the river, take a shower. (But) if you cross (the border) here quickly, it is “dry”, there is no problem to pass, you pass normally, 1,000 (people pass daily), imagine,” he told EFE.

This migrant, like hundreds of his compatriots, left their country because of the difficult economic situation, but now they are all stuck at the southern border of Mexico, waiting to make their way to the northern border.

Locked on the southern border

According to the migrants themselves, up to 1,000 people cross this tributary every day, some staying in makeshift camps, while others continue the whole way in temperatures above 35 degrees.

Brian, a Mexican who lives next to the river in Ciudad Hidalgo, said he has seen people able to cross on foot.

“The only thing is that there are holes where the car digs, where there are holes that a person can fall and drown, they do it to put the boards so that the cameras (types) come out, who don’t. They want to pay the tolls, cameras and those who don’t (pass) walking,” he explained.

Venezuelan Jose Suarez, who felt the heat wave, said despite the drought it is “not easy at all” to cross the Suchiate, where they are also afraid because the water is polluted.

“Most people walk around with sticks, those who have money, they are a risk and there is a lot of danger and if you are alone, they will rob you,” he said.

Source: El Diario

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