A pregnant woman has died after she was left in a trailer with 250 other people in 40-degree heat without water or ventilation en route to the USA.
The pregnant woman from Nicaragua and an estimated 250 others were locked in the cargo area of a lorry that was abandoned in the Mexican city of Monclova, which lies less than 300 kilometres from the US border, according to a statement from the National Institute of Migration (INM), a unit of the government of Mexico.
The people traffickers abandoned the vehicle for reasons unknown and fled, leaving the trailer, whose occupants, including seven children, were trapped inside in overcrowded conditions and at temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius.
The INM, in collaboration with other agencies, rescued 64 migrants from the trailer on Saturday, 5th March. Forty-seven were from Nicaragua, six from Honduras, three from Guatemala, seven from Cuba and one whose nationality is unknown.
The 250 figure was estimated by Mexican politician Ricardo Mejia Berdeja, and the unaccounted-for migrants reportedly dispersed before they could be detained.
The Nicaraguan woman died in hospital from multiple organ dysfunction syndrome the following morning, after her unborn baby was declared stillborn.
A total of 14 were hospitalised, most of them for severe dehydration, according to the INM, which said it will issue visitor cards for humanitarian reasons to all those rescued.
The vehicle’s driver has reportedly since been arrested and remains in preventive custody at the disposal of the Prosecutor’s Office.
Human Rights Watch last wrote of Nicaragua, where most of the rescued migrants came from: “A brutal crackdown by the National Police and armed pro-government groups left over 300 dead and 2,000 injured in 2018, and resulted in hundreds of arbitrary arrests and prosecutions. The Ortega government has continued to bring criminal cases against protesters and critics. Impunity for human rights abuses by the police continues.
“Persistent problems include severe restrictions on freedom of expression and association, political discrimination against state workers who support the opposition, and stringent abortion laws that leave no options for rape victims.”