Lhe assessment shows, for the time being, 53 victims. Thursday, December 9, a truck carrying more than a hundred migrants crashed into a wall, before overturning following the shock. The drama took place near Tuxtla Gutierrez, near the Guatemela-Mexico border. According to information from the Civil Protection, the people in hiding were all crammed into the trailer of the truck. Among them, 53 died, and 3 others are still very seriously injured. Initially, a first assessment had reported about forty victims.
“There were a lot of people on the ground, some were already dead. With other guys, we did what we could to help the rescuers save those who were still showing signs of life, ”said Isaias Diaz, who arrived there a few minutes after the tragedy. “I saw five or six injured children. People with injuries to the legs, ribs, head, neck, everywhere, ”he continued, very distressed. According to other witnesses, the driver of the truck and a person accompanying him, bloodied, fled stumbling after the accident.
Residents of the village of El Refugio, where the accident took place, extracted several bodies from the truck, covered them with white sheets while waiting for help to arrive, and offered their cell phones to survivors to ask for help. they call home, according to an AFP journalist on the spot.
The truck was carrying “more than 100 people of various nationalities,” the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) in Mexico City said in a statement. “According to the testimonies of the survivors, most of them are from Guatemala,” said regional director of Civil Protection Luis Manuel Garcia.
Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei pledged “all necessary consular assistance, including repatriations,” in a message of condolence and solidarity on Twitter. “I deeply deplore the tragedy caused by the overturning of a truck in Chiapas transporting migrants from Central America. It’s very painful, ”tweeted his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The National Migration Institute (INM) said in a statement that “humanitarian visitor cards” would be offered to survivors, in addition to food and accommodation. The INM will coordinate with local and federal authorities efforts “to provide consular assistance, identify bodies, cover funeral costs.” The accident took place in the state of Chiapas, the gateway for migrants from Central America (mainly Honduras and El Salvador) in the hope of reaching the United States.
Transporting them by truck is one of the common methods used by smugglers. Other migrants prefer to cross the country in a “caravan” on foot, and take the opportunity to claim their rights. “We need migratory alternatives and legal channels to avoid tragedies like this one,” said the Mexican branch of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in its message of condolence.
A traditional passageway, Mexico is faced this year with record arrivals of migrants coming not only from Honduras and El Salvador, but also from Haiti. From January to October, the country registered 108,195 asylum applications, a record, according to the latest official figures. For its part, the United States is showing firmness with regard to migrants. Their trip is “deeply dangerous and will not be successful,” warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a trip to Mexico in early October.
The accident took place the same day the first two migrants were returned from the United States to Mexico under a program put in place during the time of ex-President Donald Trump, suspended by Joe Biden, but reactivated by decision of the American Supreme Court. Migrants must wait in Mexico for a response to their asylum request in the United States, according to this program called “Quedate en Mexico” (Rest in Mexico).
Another United Nations agency, the International Office for Migration (IOM), considered that it was urgent to put an end “as soon as possible and definitively” to this program “inhuman and contrary to international law”.