An estimated 2,300 children traveling with the migrant caravan now in Mexico need protection and access to essential services like healthcare, clean water and adequate sanitation, UNICEF warned. The long and arduous journey has left children exposed to inclement weather, including dangerously hot temperatures, with limited access to proper shelter. Some have already fallen ill or suffered from dehydration. Many of the children and families in the caravan are fleeing gang and gender-based violence, extortion, poverty and limited access to quality education and social services in their home countries of northern Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Sadly, these conditions are part of daily life for millions of children in the region. Each day, families facing these harsh conditions make the painful decision to leave their homes, communities and countries in search of safety and a more hopeful future. While those traveling with the caravan hope for safety in numbers, the perils of using irregular migration routes remain significant, especially for children. The journey is long, uncertain and full of danger, including the risk of exploitation, violence and abuse. President Trump is sending more than 5,200 troops to the US-Mexico border as he warned a caravan of migrants walking towards it ‘This is an invasion’. The soldiers are being deployed by the Pentagon as part of a mission dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot to ‘harden’ the southern border, supporting the border control and about 2,000 National Guard forces who have already been sent there. The caravan started in Honduras on 13 October with about 1,000 Hondurans and has picked up more people as it travelled through Guatemala into Mexico. The migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador say they are fleeing persecution, poverty and violence in their home countries.
Photo Credit © Miguel Juarez Lugo via ZUMA Press.