Panama/Geneva, October 20, 2018— Red Cross societies are providing medical care and support to thousands of people moving north through Central America.

Red Cross volunteers report that many of the people they are supporting, a majority of whom are women and children, are suffering from dehydration, stomach infections, and foot injuries as they walk the long journey.

Walter Cotte, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Regional Director for the Americas said:

“We are especially concerned about the health and humanitarian needs of this wave of people on the move. Red Cross volunteers across Central America are accompanying them along their journey, providing medical care and reuniting families. It is imperative that the dignity and security of families are safeguarded, and that they are kept together.”

The mass caravan began their journey to the United States a week ago from Honduras and yesterday reached the Guatemala town of Tecún Umán on Mexico’s southern border.

The Red Cross Societies of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico have mobilized their volunteers to assist people along their journey:

  • The Honduran Red Cross is accompanying people at the beginning of their journey, providing first aid and water and support to restore family links.
  • The Guatemala Red Cross is providing pre-hospital care, clean water and ambulance services and is helping people restore family links on the route from Esquipulas to Chiquimula. They have established a medical post on the Guatemala border with Mexico.
  • The Mexican Red Cross has established medical and hydration posts on the Mexican side of the border with Guatemala. In addition, more than 40 volunteers have been deployed along with a mobile clinic to provide pre-hospital care, first aid and support to restore family links.

Walter Cotte said: “Red Cross volunteers are addressing humanitarian needs of people regardless of their legal status to ensure they are treated with dignity. Across the region, the Red Cross network is activated and is able to activate both regional and global response mechanisms as needed.

IFRC and National Red Cross Societies’ approach to migrants is strictly humanitarian. IFRC believes that all people, regardless of migration status, should be treated with dignity and respect.

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Media contacts

In Panama: Diana Medina, +507 6780-5395, diana.medina@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Laura Ngo-Fontaine, +41 79 570 4418, laura.ngofontaine@ifrc.org