The number of US-bound migrants who have crossed through the notorious jungle stretch between Panama and Colombia has soared this year to more than 400,000, the Panamanian government said Thursday.
That figure is 62 percent more than the number of migrants who crossed the Darien Gap in all of 2022.
Along the journey are wild animals, thick jungle, rivers and criminal gangs who rob migrants or demand money to guide them through the jungle.
Despite its dangers, the 165-mile (265-kilometer) Darien Gap has become a key corridor for migrants heading from South America through Central America and Mexico in hopes of reaching the United States.
Panamanian authorities do not know the exact number of migrants who die in the dense jungle area, with many deaths unreported.
The Public Security Ministry said it has tallied 402,030 people passing through as of Wednesday.
And it said as many as 4,000 people are crossing from Colombia each day. Most are from Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador and Colombia, although some are Chinese and Afghan.
The flow is so great that Panama has set up aid centers for migrants in different parts of the country.
But Public Security Minister Juan Pino said Thursday that Panama is overwhelmed, insisting "we are making a superhuman effort."
In an bid to curb the endless procession of humanity the government announced a series of measures on September 9, such as an increase in the number of deportations of people who enter the country illegally.