Chile: “There’s no water”: As Peru closes its border, migrants are stranded in the Chilean desert
By Ahmed Hadizat
Sheltering migrants peer out, squinting against the whipped-up sand and fierce sun overhead, as the wind from the Pacific Ocean buffets makeshift tents made of blankets and fabric scraps.
This barren stretch of the Atacama desert has been home to hundreds of migrants, most of whom are Venezuelans, for days or even weeks. They are trying to cross Chile’s northern border into Peru in the hopes of escaping harsher immigration regulations and growing xenophobia.
https://tidd.ly/3LQ2nlMHowever, the border through which many migrants would have entered Chile is now completely closed in the other direction. In the desert, Peruvian police with riot shields form a line near a sign that reads, ” “Welcome to Chile” in Aymara, English, and Spanish.
On a humanitarian flight, the Chilean foreign ministry announced on Sunday that 115 Venezuelans had been repatriated. Despite escalating diplomatic tensions and growing anti-Venezuelan sentiment, many of their fellow citizens remain stranded, as do a smaller number of Haitians, Colombians, and Ecuadorians.
As more families arrive, the human drama grows day by day. The patch of desert on the Chilean side is transformed into a sprawling refugee camp where families wait among piles of luggage, including breastfeeding mothers and toddlers playing in the sand without shoes.