Baby girl born on the migrant caravan now in intensive careRuth Mabhiza
Stuart Ramsay met 51-day-old Juana and her parents three days ago, before her condition worsened.
Juana, like many others, fell ill with a mild cough initially but her condition has deteriorated.
All you can hear above the sound of oxygen machines pumping and the bleep of monitors in the baby ward of Tijuana’s main hospital is the hacking cough of a mother staring at her desperately ill baby daughter.
Juana is only 51 days old. She is part of the migrant caravan hoping to get to the United States, but she can’t move anywhere now.
I met Juana and her mum and dad three days ago in the camp. She has gone from having a light cough to intensive care.
Baby Juana has developed a respiratory illness
Juan and Orlinda’s daughter was born on the migrant caravan after they fled gangs in El Salvador
Her mother, Orlinda, is sleeping on the floor of the ward now as she cares for her baby. She is relieved that the family have made it to Tijuana after a trek of more than a thousand miles and is getting proper hospital attention.
She is confident her baby’s condition will stabilize.
Her father, Juan, took pictures of Juana for Sky News as we were not allowed onto the ward for the security of all the children being cared for.
These are dreadfully worrying times for the family as they have no idea if they will be given asylum in the United States but cannot return to El Salvador or stay in Mexico because members of the gang MS13 want to kill them.
Juana is in intensive care
Orlinda’s evidence sent her gangster brother to jail for life after he murdered two people.
I joined Juan in the camp as he retrieved a few essential items from their tent, which was pitched in a baseball field, ahead of the night in hospital.
“She will be okay,” he told me as we tiptoed over the sleeping bodies of hundreds of migrants.
Looking around the camp I asked if people would stay put and wait for the asylum process to conclude or up-sticks and try to cross the border illegally.
number of the migrants headed to America are children
Conditions in the camp are suffering as crowds build
“They are already doing that. There is less food each day. People are just moving on,” he said.
Conditions in the camp over the last day or so have certainly deteriorated significantly.
There has been another influx of migrants. It smells pretty awful. All the facilities, in what is little more than a small municipal sports centre, have been overwhelmed.
The queue for food doled out by the Mexican marine corps stretches around the camp and the authorities estimate ten thousand people will be here soon.
By the standards of many refugee camps I have seen around the world, it is not that bad. But it will get worse and it is likely people will take matters into their own hands and attempt to jump the fence.
Half the migrants heading north are children. They are camping with thousands of adults; you can hear coughing everywhere you go and they are outside in very cold weather.
The migrants have walked an enormous distance
Doctors working in the camp are warning that this situation could become very serious and very soon.
“Potentially we’ve got a real humanitarian crisis brewing here because they’ve been marching and walking a very long ways, but they’ve come to the end of that road so now we’re in a situation that can be very overcrowded and so public health issues come into concern,” said Dr Allen Keller, a New York doctor volunteering to work at the camp.
“I really think there needs to be NGOs and international organisations, like the UNHCR, or whoever, who come and take over.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of people, not surprisingly, with upper respiratory infections which happens when they’re in enclosed quarters.
“So the journey is tough but they got a lot of fresh air, and I think now they are in tight quarters that’s when it can get scary,” he added.
Nobody is sure what is going to happen next but the US asylum system is going to be really stretched by the caravan and more are coming.
President Trump and his government are still casting the migrants as criminals wanting to enter America illegally, although there appears to be little evidence to support either of those two claims.
What is an absolute fact, though, is that in these conditions more and more people will get sick; Juana is just one of the first.
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