More than 80 children and more than 35 pregnant women have left on humanitarian flights, so that in the shelter “only the least vulnerable people remain, who are in their families, young men”
PANAMA CITY – Some 900 irregular Venezuelan migrants who were in a shelter in Panama City have voluntarily returned to their country in recent days on “humanitarian flights,” the director of the Panamanian Migration Office, Samira Gozaine, reported Tuesday.
In these transfers, priority has been given to children and pregnant women who were in a temporary shelter set up by the diplomatic mission of Venezuela in Panama, said the head of the National Migration Service (SNM).
Gozaine explained that more than 80 children and more than 35 pregnant women have left on these humanitarian flights, so that in the shelter “only the least vulnerable people remain, who are with their families, young men.”
“Approximately 600 people are missing here, some are on their way, several have bought their (plane) ticket with the (diplomatic) mission, several will leave on other types of flights, there are many donors who are coming to donate and buy tickets for them,” assured the Panamanian official.
The SNM is “organizing this entire process with the help of NGOs, the International Community, the Venezuelan community in Panama, the mission (Venezuelan diplomacy), the Church, so I think that by tomorrow (Wednesday) another 300 will be able to leave. – 400 people (?) We hope to evict all these people who are just asking to return to their home“he added.
On October 12, the Government of the United States announced and launched a migration regulation that indicates that any Venezuelan who enters that country having irregularly crossed the border between Mexico and Panama will be expelled to Mexican territory.
The measure was announced in the midst of a growing regional migration crisis patented by the unprecedented figure of more than 206,000 irregular travelers who have arrived in Panama this year, the vast majority Venezuelans, on their way to North America, after crossing the dangerous Darién jungle, the natural border with Colombia.
The Panamanian authorities are already showing a “considerable” drop in the numbers of migrants arriving in the country through the Darién, as the head of the National Border Service (Senafront) of Panama, Oriel Ortega, said on Tuesday.
Another effect of the US measure is that many Venezuelans who were in irregular transit are choosing to return to their country, which led to the opening of the temporary shelter in Panama City by the Venezuelan diplomatic mission.
This facility, a large warehouse without major facilities, was visited on Tuesday by US Senator Timothy Michael Kaine, Congressman Adriano Espaillat and the Head of Mission of the US Embassy, Stewart Tuttle, reported the Migration Office.
Earlier in the morning, in a meeting with both parliamentarians, the president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, asked the United States for “support” to deal with the historic flow of irregular migrants that arrive in this country on their way to North America.
“Panama is a country with few resources and we are supporting the return of Venezuelans to their country. In this year alone, 206,000 migrants have passed through the Darién, 170,000 of them Venezuelans. We need support from the United States,” the Panamanian president said, according to the statement.
Panama receives irregular migrants in transit at migratory reception stations (ERM) located on the border with Colombia (south) and Costa Rica (north), where they take their biometric data and offer them food and medical attention, an operation that It has consumed about 50 million dollars between 2020 and this year according to official figures.
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