At least 39 people have died in Panama in the worst migration accident in the country’s history, according to the nation’s migration authorities. The tragedy occurred early Wednesday morning when a bus carrying over 60 migrants fell off a cliff. The bus was heading towards a shelter located in Chiriqui, a western coastal province that borders Costa Rica. The passengers had travelled through the Darien Gap, a stretch of jungle that connects Colombia to Central America.
More than half of the 66 people on board the bus perished in the accident near the Gualaca migrant shelter, an area with many curving roads. Twenty people were hospitalized with injuries, some of them severely wounded. The nationalities of the victims have not been disclosed by the authorities, but they have stated they will first communicate with the relatives and respective embassies of the passengers.
Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo expressed condolences to the families of those killed and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to providing humanitarian aid and decent conditions to deal with irregular migration. Last year, a record 248,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap, most of them Venezuelans. Since the beginning of 2023, a further 32,800 have crossed the Darien Gap, according to the Panama foreign ministry.
Leave a Reply