Broken toys, portable showers, crowded shelters. These will be the childhood memories of thousands of migrant children from Central America now scattered throughout various shelters in Mexico.
UNICEF reports that since the start of 2021, the number of migrant children reported in Mexico has risen from 380 to nearly 3,500.
Most are from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The World Food Programme reports that 15 percent of the people surveyed in these four countries had plans to migrate in 2021, as compared to 8 percent in 2018. Push factors include gang criminality, domestic violence, job loss, poverty and hunger.
“Now in this country they either get into gangs or become criminals going around robbing and hurting people. I wouldn't like to see my son ending up like that.”
And now the Mexican assistance centers that receive them, like this one in Ciudad Juarez, are overstretched and in need of expansion. For these children and their families there is no turning back. So UNICEF is offering them shelter, hygiene kits and educational activities to help them move forward.
Meanwhile, the WFP is coordinating projects to help vulnerable populations thrive in their home countries.
Executive Director, World Food Programme
“People have lost their jobs. They have lost their hope. And so, when they go to the United States or towards the United States they get to the border and guess what. That costs about 4,000 USD per person per week. But here, here with a project that the World Food Programme in building resilience and hope; it's a dollar a week.”
UNICEF estimates that 150,000 children and their families will require emergency and development assistance in the next two years.
UNICEF // WFP