A total of 13,637 illegal migrants entered Panama through the Darien jungle, a border area with neighboring Colombia, during the first half of 2019, according to the National Migration Service (SNM).
According to the institution's figures, the majority of irregulars are men, while minors represent 2,139, who in the company of their parents flee armed conflicts, poverty and lack of opportunities, among other reasons.
In a recent press release, issued after a tour of the La Penita shelter, the Ombudsman's Office stressed that 'the migration situation far from improving, so far has worsened and continues with high numbers.
According to MNS statistics, in the last eight years 87,191 migrants have crossed the jungle, with 2015 (29,289) and 2016 (30,55) being the years with the greatest flow of irregular migrants from Colombia, who concentrated in Puerto Obaldia, a small community located in the Guna Yala region.
It should be noted that since the beginning of this crisis, the Panamanian authorities offer social and medical assistance to migrants, in addition to the visits they make to learn about the health and safety situation.
In this sense, the trip of this weekend to La Penita stands out, where 'the great number of minors and pregnant women who risk their lives along with their families in order to reach North America,' the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
In this regard, the head of the branch, Rosario Turner, gave instructions for several doctors and nurses to lead the medical tours, in order to assist migrants who require 'effective care, timely, dignified and humane.
The greatest concern at present of the health authorities is that with the increase in rainfall, mosquitoes unleash an epidemic of disease.
Last May, the United Nations Children's Fund warned of the notable increase in migrant children and adolescents in the Darién jungle on their way to the United States.a