At least 53 migrants killed in road accident in Mexico

Published on: Amended:

Tuxtla Guti̩rrez (Mexico) (AFP) РAt least 53 migrants were killed in Mexico on Thursday after the truck they were hiding in hit a retaining wall and overturned in the southern state of Chiapas, a major transit point for those trying to reach the states -United.

58 others were also injured, including three seriously, according to a preliminary report from prosecutors in Chiapas, which borders Guatemala.

“So far, 53 people have died and three others are seriously injured,” the office said in a statement which also announced that it was taking charge of the investigation into the incident.

The migrants were crammed into the truck, civil protection officials told reporters.

“According to the statements of the survivors, most of them are from Guatemala,” said Luis Manuel García, director of civil protection in Chiapas.

Authorities said it appeared the driver was traveling at high speed when he lost control of the vehicle on the highway between the town of Chiapa de Corzo and the state capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez. He then fled.

Images on local television showed large numbers of ambulances, firefighters and rescuers gathered around the crashed vehicle, as well as confused and shocked migrants awaiting medical attention.

The bodies were wrapped in white sheets or other blankets.

State Governor Rutilio Escandon said the injured should receive “prompt attention and assistance”, adding: “Law enforcement will determine who is responsible.”

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pledged to provide one of his compatriots with consular assistance, including help to return home, in a message on Twitter.

His Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador offered his condolences on Twitter, calling the incident “very painful”.

The National Migration Institute, a department of the Interior Ministry, said in a statement that “humanitarian visitor cards” would be offered to survivors, in addition to humanitarian aid such as food and accommodation.

The INM will coordinate with local and federal authorities efforts “to provide consular assistance, identify bodies, cover funeral costs,” he said.

Find a way north

Moving undocumented migrants hidden in trucks is the most common method used by human traffickers operating along the border between Guatemala and Mexico. They then head north to the US border.

Other migrants have chosen to join the so-called caravans, in which people travel much of the long journey on foot, subject to extreme weather conditions in many parts of Mexico and the threat of drug cartels and other organized crime syndicates.

Police and rescue workers are seen after an accident in which at least 49 migrants died, in Tuxtla Gutierrez SERGIO HERNANDEZ AFP

The Mexican branch of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called for “alternatives” and legal routes for migration to “avoid tragedies like this”.

And Mexican immigration authorities said survivors could be offered temporary permits to stay in the country on “humanitarian grounds” as well as food and shelter assistance.

The flow of undocumented migrants, fleeing violence and poverty in their countries of origin – mainly in Central America – has increased since President Joe Biden came to power with the promise to abandon his intransigent border policies. predecessor Donald Trump.

More than 190,000 migrants were detected by Mexican authorities between January and September, three times more than in 2020. Some 74,300 were expelled.

Comments are closed.