Necocli residents say they have never seen so many migrants and city authorities have declared a “public calamity”
by: MARKO ÁLVAREZ and ASTRID SUÁREZ, Associated Press Posted: Jul 30, 2021 / 12:08 PM CDT / Updated: Jul 30, 2021 / 12:08 PM CDT
NECOCLI, Colombia (AP) — A small city on Colombia’s Caribbean shore is being crowded with migrants from Haiti, Africa and Cuba making what they hope will be a journey toward the United States.
Local official estimate more than 10,000 migrants have massed recently in Necocli, a city of some 20,000 people better known for its beaches, coconuts and burbling mud volcanos. It has become a bottleneck on the global migrant trail that winds through South and Central America, and on to Mexico and then the U.S. southern border.
Necocli residents say they have never seen so many migrants and city authorities have declared a “public calamity” because of water shortages caused by the additional demand from the migrants. Colombian ombudsman Carlos Camargo on Thursday visited the city’s docks where boats depart to verify the humanitarian situation of the thousands of migrants.
“I make a call to my counterparts in other countries to carry out joint actions to confront this problem,” he told The Associated Press.
For many migrants, the journey runs from the Ecuadorian border through Colombia to Necocli, where ferries carry people across the Gulf of Uraba to the even smaller border town of Capurgana — and then into a dangerous, roadless expanse of Panama known as the Darien Gap.