Migration wave has yet to cool down

Despite applying many prevention measures, the problem of illegal migrants has not “cooled down”. Migration waves have continued to spread in the Americas, Europe, and Africa, threatening the lives of the participants themselves.
Police work near the scene after at least 18 people were found dead in Bulgaria in a lorry near the capital Sofia. (Photo: Reuters)
Police work near the scene after at least 18 people were found dead in Bulgaria in a lorry near the capital Sofia. (Photo: Reuters)

Bulgarian police have just searched a suspicious log truck parked on the highway ring road of the capital Sofia, according to Bulgarian National Investigation Agency Director Borislav Safarov. After the trunk was opened, police discovered 52 Afghan refugees, including five children, hidden behind logs. However, it is heart-breaking that 18 refugees, including children, have been found dead. Survivors were also hospitalised in critical condition.

Bulgarian police urgently investigated and arrested three suspects. Although the cause of the 18 deaths is still under investigation, the police have ruled out the possibility of a traffic accident. Bulgarian Health Minister Asen Medzhidiev said the victims died from lack of oxygen. According to him, they were locked up too long in cold and wet conditions without oxygen or food for many days.

Bulgaria is located on a route used by migrants mainly from the Middle East and Afghanistan to enter the European Union (EU). They do not intend to stay in poor EU member states like Bulgaria, but the destination is the rich Western European countries.

Bulgaria recently had to strengthen the control of its southern border with Turkey and other areas to stem the growing influx of migrants into the country and demonstrate the Balkan country's ability to protect the EU's external borders.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also been concerned by the fact that more than 60,000 Somalis, mostly women and children, have fled to Ethiopia in recent weeks. They fear falling victim to stray bullets during clashes between security forces and tribes in Las Anod, northern Somalia.

Most of these people were exhausted and severely traumatised. Many of them have lost loved ones and property in the clashes or lost family members in the running. Many refugee families have taken shelter in schools and public buildings while others have to sleep outdoors.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned that the number of children crossing the Darien jungle, which lies between the border of Panama and Colombia, will increase in 2023 amid a wave of migrants willing to cross the forest to head to the US.

UNICEF estimated that by the end of 2023, more than 300,000 migrants will attempt to cross the Darien jungle, including about 60,000 children. This is up from the 40,438 children coming to the US in 2022.

In January 2023 alone, more than 4,800 children made this dangerous journey, seven times higher than in the same period in 2022. While only adults made the journey across the Darien jungle in the past four years, the phenomenon of the whole family participating in this route has become common. In 2022, the number of migrants crossing the Darien jungle increased to a record 248,000.

UNICEF's warning is not superfluous when a few days ago, a passenger bus carrying migrants plunged off a cliff in Panama, killing 39 people, including children and this is also the most tragic accident for migrants in the Central American country.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants try to cross the Darien jungle - the bottleneck that must be passed through for illegal migrants by land from South America to rich North America, despite the rugged terrain and extreme weather as well as crimes such as human trafficking, robbery, extortion, and sexual abuse.

UNHCR experts warned that migrants need to think carefully before embarking on a dangerous journey to leave their homeland, even at the expense of their own lives.