19 000 migrants amassed in Colombia near Panama border: official

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A group of Haitian migrants wait to board a boat to take them to Capurgana, a town near the border with Panama, in Necocli, Colombia, on September 13, 2021. (Photo by Vanessa Jimenez G./Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A group of Haitian migrants wait to board a boat to take them to Capurgana, a town near the border with Panama, in Necocli, Colombia, on September 13, 2021. (Photo by Vanessa Jimenez G./Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Some 19 000 migrants, mainly Haitians, are amassed on the north coast of Colombia, from where they hope to cross to Panama and find a route to the United States, an official in Bogota said Wednesday.

A mission of "evaluating the migrant crisis" concluded there were nearly 19 000 migrants stuck in the coastal town of Necocli in north western Antioquia department, Colombia's ombudsman Carlos Camargo said on Twitter, adding they were "mostly Haitians."

Some had been there for weeks.

A steady influx of migrants from Colombia northward via Panama dried up in 2020 due to coronavirus travel restrictions and resultant border closures. But there have been several thousand new arrivals at Necocli in recent weeks.

From Necocli, migrants cross the Gulf of Uraba by boat to the Colombian village of Acandi, which borders Panama.

From there they start, on foot, the dangerous trek across mountain and jungle, facing snakes, steep ravines, tropical downpours and criminals often linked to drug trafficking.


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