According to OCHA, in 2,021, 126,675 people crossed the border between Colombia and Panama through the Darien Gap. Notwithstanding high under-reporting, local authorities and national and international NGOs located in the area have identified that many people from several countries chose the Darien Gap as a viable migration route, despite the great challenges imposed by the geography of the place and the conflict dynamics present in the territory: In the first three months of 2022, 13,425 people crossed through the Gap—at a rate of more than double when compared with the 5,622 people who crossed in the same period in 2,021.
As per the Colombian Ombudsman in his last field visit to Necoclí (Antioquia) in June 2022, the dire humanitarian situation is driven by mixed migratory flows, that sum up more than 19,000 refugees and migrants (about 25% of them are children) coming from Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, and some African countries, who are stranded in the municipality of Necocli seeking to reach Central America and the US.
Some other trends identified by the Ombudsman and UN agencies such as UNICEF are as follows: i) migrant profile has changed as most of the migrant population stagnated come from Venezuela, extremely impoverished as many of them come from countries as far as Chile on foot, by bus and lack the resources to sustain themselves and pay the high cost of crossing the border; ii) the increase of migrant families with children, in comparison to 2,021 when the predominant demographic group migrating were young male individuals and, iii) the most concerning trend, the increase of non-accompanied children. According to UNICEF, the number of non-accompanied children has increased twofold in 2,022 with 169 children aged 0 to 17 years and 41 children aged 13 to 17 years, who are more vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation and, use and forced recruitment by illegal groups. Up to date, 5,000 children have crossed the border since January 2,022.
The ACT forum Colombia through one of its members, the Fundación de Diaconia PAZOS, is planning on submitting an Appeal proposal to provide humanitarian relief through the adaptation of a temporary shelter that meets the habitability conditions. It is also expected to provide humanitarian assistance in food security (delivery of CVA), WASH (delivery of hygiene kits), and Protection (including SGBV and Child Protection, through psychosocial support and the strengthening of the local referral mechanism).