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Haiti - Panama : A migrant bus falls into a ravine, 41 dead including 16 Haitians
The bus had left from a temporary immigration reception station in Darién, the border province with Colombia in the southeast of Panama, a regular passage for people from various countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador or Haiti en route to the North.
According to local authorities, the accident occurred after the bus driver mistakenly passed the refuge where a stopover was planned for the migrants to rest. As he was turning around on the highway to return to the shelter he was hit by a minibus, losing control of the bus and falling into the ravine.
The toll is at least 41 dead, including 16 Haitians, and 25 injured, several seriously.
The first official report on the nationalities of the 66 migrants traveling on the bus indicates that there were 22 Ecuadorians, 16 Haitians, 11 Venezuelans, 6 Brazilians, 5 Colombians, 2 Cubans and 4 Africans, 42 men and 24 women (including 20 minors).
In addition to the 66 migrants, two Panamanians were traveling on board the bus: the driver who died at the scene and his assistant who was injured.
This is the worst road accident since the Central American country authorized the transfer by bus of migrants crossing the dangerous Darien jungle https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-37819-haiti-social-haitian-migrants-in-the-world-face-difficult-situations.html on the border with Colombia, to a camp on the border with Costa Rica so that they can continue their journey to North America.
In a telegram published Thursday, February 16, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent to Cardinal José Luis Lacunza O.A.R, Bishop of David, Panama, Pope Francis shared the pain of the families and friends of the victims "The Holy Father has learned with deep sadness of the accident of a bus, which occurred in the region of Gualaca, during which several migrants lost their lives and others were injured" Pope Francis "joins the pain of the families and friends of the deceased and asks for the speedy healing of the wounded."