In the United States, at least 51 dead discovered in a truck in Texas

In the United States, at least 51 dead discovered in a truck in Texas
Aerial view of the truck in which at least 51 people died, near San Antonio, Texas, June 27, 2022.

The number of people found dead on Monday, June 27, in a truck in Texas amounts to at least 51 – 39 men and 12 women –, according to a latest report communicated by the local authorities. The identification process is ongoing and is expected to take several days. Among those hospitalized is a teenager in critical condition, they added.

Charles Hood, the fire chief of the city of San Antonio, had previously mentioned 46 dead and sixteen injured – twelve adults and four children – taken care of by the care services. After a day marked by temperatures close to 40 degrees, “the patients were hot to the touch, they suffered from heatstroke, exhaustion”explained Mr. Hood in the night.

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Biden calls for tackling ‘criminal trafficking’

Heavy goods vehicles such as the one found in San Antonio, about 240 kilometers from the border with Mexico, are a means of transport frequently used by migrants wishing to enter the United States. Such a trip is extremely dangerous, especially since these vehicles are rarely air-conditioned and their occupants quickly run out of water.

US President Joe Biden has called for “Combat the multi-billion dollar criminal trafficking that exploits migrants and costs far too many innocent lives”. “The first information is that this tragedy was caused by (…) traffickers who have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit for profit”added the president in a press release.

Despite the magnitude of the tragedy, one of the worst in American history, his opposition was quick to attribute him some responsibility, accusing him of laxity at the border. “These deaths are attributed to Biden. They are the result of his deadly policy of open borders”attacked Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

“Human traffickers exploit our open borders and the most vulnerable pay with their lives”added the texan senator Ted Cruz.

“Tragedy”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that 22 victims were from Mexico, seven from Guatemala, two from Honduras. “It is a huge misfortune”, he lamented. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg denounced “a terrible tragedy” and hoped that those responsible “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.

Three people were arrested, according to police chief William McManus. But “we don’t know if they are related to this or not”, he specified. A federal investigation has been opened for “suspicion of human trafficking”announced the Department of Homeland Security.

The border guards are taking part in the investigations, announced their chief, Chris Magnus, for whom the drama illustrates “the desperation of migrants ready to put their lives in the hands of insensitive smugglers”.

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The arrivals of illegal migrants increased sharply after the election of Joe Biden, although the latter has been trying since his arrival at the White House to stem the influx of migrants by entrusting this thorny issue to his vice-president, Kamala Harris.

In 2017, a similar tragedy marked the spirits : ten migrants had died in an overheated trailer parked in a parking lot near San Antonio.

The World with AFP

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