Today was day one in Matamoros!
I crossed the border with Global Response Management team members and we got right to work. Hands on Global is partnering with GRM to help staff their clinic in Matamoros, Mexico. The clinic is right in the middle of camp. It’s flu season, we saw lots of coughs and colds and fevers today, including some probable tropical diseases. There are huge mental health and women’s health needs, and half of the camps population are minors. Even with all the illness and the rain and the uncertainty, spirits were high and smiles were on many faces. Children played with makeshift toys.
The resiliency of human spirit always astounds me.
Over 3,000 migrants are camped out here, waiting for the chance to legally apply for asylum in the US. Migrants have been crossing the US/Mexico border for decades, often fleeing gang or political violence. In the past, migrants would present themselves at the border entry point, and were processed and given court dates and allowed to live in safety until that date.
In July 2019 policy changed, forcing migrants to wait on the Mexican side while paperwork is processed which can take months or even years. While this has decreased border crossings, it has also led to both brutalities against migrants traveling and large migrant camps on the border in cartel country. Camps without any infrastructure or organization, with migrants being targeted for kidnapping and human trafficking.
And this is where we are today. Working to mitigate this problem while it grows exponentially.
Photo: GRM clinic space
Post by: Leslie Gibbs