Wednesday, 29 Mar 2023

A backlog of bodies: why this is the deadliest year for the US-Mexico border

A backlog of bodies: why this is the deadliest year for the US-Mexico border


A backlog of bodies: why this is the deadliest year for the US-Mexico border

Along the US-Mexico border, overwhelmed mortuaries in Eagle Pass, Texas have been forced to stockpile a "backlog of bodies" in a city-owned refrigerated truck.

The local government bought but never used the makeshift morgue amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when such desperate sights were not unheard of in various parts of the US, including Texas.

Yet in recent weeks, the truck has come to embody a renewed abundance of death in the border town with a population of roughly 29,000, deployed as a stark stopgap measure to keep bodies preserved before they can go to an overworked medical examiner, Eagle Pass fire chief Manuel Mello III told the Guardian.

Mello recently counted nine overflow corpses languishing inside the refrigerated truck, a tally that was on the rise.

"They're all migrants," he said solemnly.

Along the 2,000-mile (3,219km) boundary between the US and Mexico, the 2022 fiscal year proved the deadliest on record for people trying to make unauthorized crossings of this heavily-patrolled international line.

In just 12 months, more than 800 migrants lost their lives in search of a better one as they disappeared beneath the tumultuous waters of the Rio Grande, succumbed to blistering summer heat, crashed in a smuggler's vehicle, tumbled from a border barrier, or otherwise had their travels violently cut short.

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