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World News

Honduran caravan heads towards U.S. to escape pandemic-induced poverty

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TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Hundreds of Hondurans formed a caravan headed towards the United States on Wednesday, seeking to improve their living conditions as coronavirus has killed over 2,000 people and paralysed the economy in the Central American nation, local media reported.

The migrants, mostly young men and women carrying backpacks and small children, departed from a bus terminal in the northern city of San Pedro Sula headed toward the Guatemalan border, according to local television.

“I’m leaving with my husband and my two children. There is no work here. There is nothing to do, and if you find a job they only pay you 100 lempiras ($4) a day,” said a woman who identified herself as Cristina to local television program Hoy Mismo.

Wednesday’s group marks the first caravan to depart Honduras in 2020, as the nation suffers the largest recorded economic decline in its history after six months of strict lockdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In October 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered soldiers to the border with Mexico in response to caravans of Central American migrants who were moving north to the United States.

Trump, who railed against unauthorized immigration in his successful 2016 presidential campaign, claimed that the troops were needed to the secure the border against the migrants but critics said the move was a political stunt in the lead up to U.S. congressional elections that November. D-REUTERSNEWS-T004/I341a18b0db8c11e887c6d15ae9a020ee

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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