An eight-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim of a series of drownings on the US-Mexico border as migrants attempt to cross the Rio Grande in treacherous winter conditions.
The boy, who has not been identified, drowned Wednesday while trying to cross the frozen river with his family amid unprecedented arctic conditions in border areas that have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas. without electricity, water or food.
The family was trying to cross the river from Piedras Negras in the Mexican state of Coahuila to reach Eagle Pass, Texas, in freezing conditions. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the United States, but were returned to Mexico by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “could not withstand the blow of the water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters.” His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Crossing the mighty Rio Grande is always dangerous: dozens of undocumented immigrants, many of whom could not swim, have drowned over the years after being caught in the deceptively deep waters and strong current.
The massive winter storm currently covering the entire state of Texas, which has produced a lot of snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.
Earlier this week, a Venezuelan woman died trying to cross the river in the same area after being caught in sub-zero currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two reached the border with the United States.
Border patrol agents in Texas have reportedly detained more than 200 undocumented immigrants suffering exposure and other cold-related injuries in the past week. The migrants were originally from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Ecuador, according to CBP.
The deaths come as defenders in Mexico report a substantial increase in migrants from the Caribbean, Central and South America, fleeing a miserable mix of poverty, violence, corruption and natural disasters linked to the climate crisis.
Guatemala and Honduras, two of the most unequal, violent and corrupt countries in the region, were hit in November by two hurricanes that left millions of people without adequate crops and housing, and with little medical, food or financial assistance from their governments.
Faced with starvation, many are on the move in search of safety, work and family reunification amid a ray of hope that the United States will be less hostile to migrants and asylum seekers under Joe Biden.
“We are seeing a large increase in migrants arriving in Mexico, trying to escape the consequences of climate change and have a better life,” said Martha Sánchez Soler, founder of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, a non-profit advocacy group based in Mexico. City. “There is no adequate shelter in Mexico due to the pandemic and they are facing the impact of climate change in the north.”
Health protection measures imposed to reduce the spread of Covid-19, including drastically reduced capacity at shelters along the route, mean that migrants in transit are forced to risk traveling in life-threatening weather conditions. and to remain in places prey to criminal and corrupt gangs. officials.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism