Migrant children on Mexico’s southern border getting help from NGO

Tapachula, Mexico, Mar 19 (EFE).- Thousands of migrant children who arrive on Mexico’s southern border accompanied by their parents fleeing from their homelands due to problems like malnutrition and lack of food and medicine are being helped by non-governmental organizations.

Martha Gonzalez, a Honduran migrant, who is traveling with her husband, her daughter and four small children, who left their country due to problems with violence and lack of security, have been some of those who have benefited from the NGOs helping migrants in Tapachula, on Mexico’s southern border.

“Here, they’re telling us how to live and how to continue on, and now we’re seeking a new life and we’re being helped in Mexico,” Gonzalez told EFE.

She said that getting sick is a real ordeal because they’re migrants and the most worrying thing is the kids because they have to take advantage of wherever they are to get the medicines they need.

Given this situation, organizations like UNICEF, in alliance with Adra and the Committee for Aid in Disasters and National Emergencies (CADENA), are providing medical attention to migrants who are staying in shelters.

According to UNICEF figures, in 2023 alone they have helped some 4,000 migrant children in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, where Tapachula is located.

Isabel Velasco Luna, the head of UNICEF in Chiapas, said that since last year they have attended to 17,500 kids suffering from malnutrition, adding that on the southern border, some 10 percent of the migrant children are malnourished to one extent or another.

Marcelino Urbina, a 37-year-old Honduran, left his country due to its political problems and because he couldn’t find work, traveling with a niece and two children and ultimately reaching Tapachula where they asked for asylum.

The family has been helped by NGOs, receiving sanitary supplies, cleaning items, food, medicines and medical attention.

“We’re aware that we’re migrants, and (the NGOs) have no obligation to us, but they’ve done it, although they don’t have enough for everyone waiting for a chance to work in Mexico,” Marcelino said.

He said he had no plans to migrate to the United States, as thousands of others intend to do, since if in Mexico he can receive official papers and work then he’ll stay here.

For migrants like Marcelino and Martha, and their families, the NGOs have been extraordinarily helpful during their stay in Mexico.

In Tapachula, other challenges confronting the NGO personnel are language barriers, incomplete vaccination records and migrants who have respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses.

There is special interest in the migrant children in this border city, although local authorities don’t have enough resources and, in fact, are at the limit of their capabilities at present.

“We believe that they’re overwhelmed and so we’re working with the government to strengthen what they’re doing,” Velasco Luna said.

EFE –/bp

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