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Children at Tijuana migrant camp fall sick amid low temperatures

Tijuana, Mexico, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Recent cold weather in Tijuana, northern Mexico, is causing respiratory illnesses among children at a camp of migrants who are waiting for their requests for asylum in the United States to be processed.

Nearly 1,000 migrants at the improvised shelter near the El Chaparral crossing, meters away from the offices of the National Institute of Migration, have faced nightly temperatures as low as 5 degrees celsius.

During their stay at the camp, they have endured the constant and common weather changes of the border state of Baja California, including a recent spate of heavy rains and a hailstorm that battered the city of Tijuana for two days.

The low temperatures have started to take a toll on the migrant children, with around 50 of them having already been treated by the Baja California health department for respiratory illnesses.

Gabrial Lucia, a primary healthcare doctor in Tijuana, told Efe that around 250 migrant children and adults had been tended to, and dozens had been affected by respiratory problems.

“Among the treatments that we have carried out, which are around 250, the most common problems that we have detected are respiratory disease due to weather changes and stomach infections due to the kind of hygiene they have here,” he said.

Regarding the hygiene-related infections, the doctor said there had been a repeated demand for the installation of portable bathrooms because the migrants had nowhere to shower, wash hands or take care of their physiological needs.

“It is recommended that they put up portable bathrooms and a hand-washing area,” said Lucia, adding that the state human rights commission had also requested this.

Although no Covid-19 cases have been detected among the migrants at El Chaparral, they are being vaccinated against the disease to prevent future infections.

The children of the migrant camp can be seen playing amid the puddles of water left behind by rains over the past few days and are exposed to the cold weather at night.

Last week, the migrant camp at the border crossing of Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, was dismantled after the US administration of Joe Biden suspended former president Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico program, which forced asylum seekers from across Latin America to stay in Mexico while waiting for their hearings in US immigration courts. EFE-EPA

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