The Darien jungle, a treacherous journey that leaves many behind

By Irene Escudero

Acandí, Colombia, Oct 1 (EFE).- The Darien jungle is awash with the gasps of out of breath migrants, the majority Haitians, on their journey to the Panamanian border from Colombia.

Roughly five hundred people walk in a procession along the muddy river banks in the Colombian town of Acandí.

Couples with babies, exhausted pregnant women and toddlers who can barely walk face the treacherous journey through one of the most dangerous jungles in the world, towards their final destination, North America.

The Darién is a natural barrier to migration and its ruthless terrain has become a hub for criminality and armed militia activity.

But this hasn’t deterred desperate migrants, who have crossed in record numbers this year.

So far over 86,000 people have ventured across the border and Panamanian authorities estimate that in August alone some 25,000 migrants made the journey.

Edmundo and Franklin, two cousins from Brazil, have everything ready before dawn, they travel light with a pair of trousers and three T-shirts.

“I have put all my savings into this. If they throw me out, I will be left with nothing,” says Franklin.

Jorge Luis and his father José Ramón, who is a diabetic and suffers from kidney problems, are stranded in the Las Tecas camp on the edge of the Darién.

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