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Record: 250,000 migrants crossed the Darien jungle in 2022

Nearly 250,000 migrants - more than half of them Venezuelans - crossed the dangerous Darien jungle on the Colombian border to North America in 2022, a record number despite measures put in place by the United States in an effort to discourage this irregular flow from the southern part of the continent.

At least 36 migrants died in the attempt last year, although the figure could be higher because many perish in the jungle without their remains being reported or recovered, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a report released Tuesday from Geneva based on records from Panama.

Panamanian migration authorities reported that the flow continued as the new year and the dry season dawned, although they did not have precise figures for the moment on how many had crossed so far in January.

"The stories we have heard from those who have crossed the Darien jungle are testimony to the horrors that this journey involves," said the head of the UN agency's mission in Panama, Giuseppe Loprete. "Many have lost their lives or have disappeared while others have made it across but now have major health problems."

Transit through that border area between Colombia and Panama almost doubled that recorded in 2021, when at least 133,000 migrants made that crossing, mostly Haitians. In 2022 the flow was dominated by Venezuelans with more than 150,327 crossings.

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