In the context of the COVID-19 emergency, since March 19, 2020, the Government of Costa Rica has kept its land border with Panama closed for the Binational Controlled Flow Operation, which sought an orderly and safe migration of migrants moving through the Americas3.
Given the presence of this irregular migration flow, since August 24, 2021, IOM Panama has published information on the irregular migration flow in Darién, Panama4 under the context of COVID-19, identifying that between August 2021 and January 2022, 93,139 migrants have entered Panama: Haiti (61%), Cuba (11%), Chile and Brazil with 7 percent, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (4%), among other countries of South America, Africa and Asia (10%).
In Costa Rica, during 2022, a steady increase in the number of migrants of this migration flow has been identified (it has increased by 20% compared to December 2021, when the monitoring of flows in Costa Rica began). In addition, according to data from the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME), during May 2021 and February 2022, 4,976 rejections5 have been made in Paso Canoas.
In Costa Rica, there are many perceived vulnerabilities: people traveling alone, children, disoriented elderly people, people with medical problems, emotional exhaustion caused by stress, anguish and frustration. In addition, the main needs identified are associated with access to food, clothing, diapers, shelter, medicines and transportation. Many people have lost their identification documents and are reluctant to receive medical assistance, as they believe that they would not be allowed to continue their journey.