First modification: 07/29/2021 – 17:40
This town in Urabá Antioquia is the scene of one of the biggest migratory crises in the area in recent years. There, thousands of Haitian migrants seek to cross the dreaded Darien Gap on their way to North America on a journey fraught with danger.
Up to 10,000 people remain stranded on the beaches and streets of the Colombian town of Necoclí. The situation has been borderline for weeks despite the fact that these migrants are only passing through on their way to the United States and Canada in search of a future with more opportunities.
Although there are Africans and Asians among the migrants, the majority come from Haiti. Entire families try to cross the dangerous Darien Gap, a lush mountain range that separates Colombia from Panama in which the states have practically no presence and the law of armed groups and ‘coyotes’ prevails. These people often impose quotas on migrants to cross the border, and migrants sometimes die trying.
Necoclí is the gateway to the Darién and to get there you need to cross the Gulf of Urabá from this town. Although about 750 migrants leave the city by boat each day, about 1,000 new ones arrive, which means that the collapse does not stop.
This situation exacerbates the structural problems of Necoclí. The health system and basic infrastructures are totally collapsed due to the fact that the precarious situation that already exists is incapable of assimilating almost 10,000 new people in a population of about 40,000.
The hotels, hostels and lodging houses are not enough and this situation scares away the few tourists that the pandemic allows to reach.
The weather conditions have meant that these boat trips cannot be carried out for several days and that the damming of migrants has increased throughout Necoclí, a town historically affected by the Colombian armed conflict.
An undeniable drama beyond the numbers
The situation has caused controversy between the Mayor of Necoclí and Migración Colombia. The former claim that the situation is extreme in all respects, while the latter deny the existence of 10,000 migrants who are being held in detention. They accept that the immigration situation is complex, but they lower the figures.
“Colombia is not the cause or origin of irregular migration. However, as a country we are concerned about this situation, taking into account that migrant smuggling networks treat people as goods, exposing them to dangerous situations, in which, They can even lose their lives, “said Juan Francisco Espinosa, director of Migration Colombia.
As Technical Secretariat of the Intersectoral Commission on Migrant Trafficking, chaired by the @CancilleriaCol, we have called a meeting with the mayors to discuss an action plan that the National Government will present and undertake actions to support #Necoclí pic.twitter.com/GWzYRBnivj
– Migration Colombia (@MigracionCol) July 29, 2021
Numerous images confirmed this overcrowding and the local authorities declared a state of public calamity due to the risk that this implies. Biosafety regulations are not being respected at a difficult time in the pandemic throughout Latin America.
The situation in the area is not new, since in some years up to 35,000 Haitian migrants were registered. These people suffer a very fragile status due to the irregularity in which they enter Colombia.
Although the Colombian government tried to regularize the situation of Venezuelan migrants present in the country, other nationalities were excluded from these benefits.
With EFE and local media