UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric gave a warning, at the UN Headquarters in New York City on Wednesday, that the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has found that children traveling with the migrant caravan in Mexico are in need of support.
“In Mexico, the UN Children's Fund has warned that many children traveling with the migrant caravan are showing signs of anguish and psychosocial distress. In certain cases, children are expressing fear of violence and separation from their families, while other children are finding it difficult to engage in play, recreational activities, or organized activities by UNICEF staff on the ground. The agency and its partners are quickly scaling up support for psychosocial intervention to reach children in need. Psychosocial support can help lower the impact on children of having to abandon their homes and endure grueling travel conditions,” Stephane Dujarric said.
Thousands of migrants, mostly fleeing violence and poverty, have been traveling for almost a month after the group first formed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Although the caravan must still travel around 965 kilometres (600 miles) to reach the US-Mexico border, US President Donald Trump has stationed soldiers on the frontier already and has pledged to send thousands more.
Most of the migrants say they are seeking a new life and better opportunities in the US or Mexico. Others say they are fleeing violence in their home country and intend to apply for asylum.
Honduras, which has a population of about nine million, has endemic problems with gang violence, drug wars and corruption. The wider region has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
While Central Americans have long fled their homelands for the US and have sometimes joined forces along the way, the organized nature of this caravan is relatively new.
Migrants are often kidnapped by people traffickers and drugs gangs who force them to work for them. The migrants have mainly been sleeping on the streets or in makeshift camps and there is a lack of clean water and sanitation.