Six-Year-old Indian Migrant Girl Dies In Arizona As Mother Left Her In Search of Water
A six-year-old girl from India died of heat stroke in an Arizona desert after her mother left her with other migrants to go in search of water, the US officials said.
Gurupreet Kaur, soon to celebrate her seventh birthday, was found by US Border Patrol west of Lukeville, Arizona on Wednesday last week, when temperatures reached a high of 42 Celsius.
The girl’s death, the second recorded fatality of a migrant child this year in Arizona’s southern deserts, highlighted the danger of summer heat as a surge of migrant families, mainly from Central America, cross the US-Mexico border to seek asylum.
An increasing number of Indian nationals are entering the United States from Mexico, according to immigration officials. They are among thousands of Africans and Asian migrants making the arduous journey, led by smuggling cartels, Reuters reported.
The girl and her mother were among a group of five Indian nationals dropped off by smugglers in a remote border area at 10 am on Tuesday, 27-km west of Lukeville, a US border town 80-km southwest of Tucson.
After walking some way, the girl’s mother and another woman went in search of water, leaving her daughter with another woman and her child.
“Once they went to look for water they never saw them again,” said US Border Patrol Agent Jesus Vasavilbaso.
The mother and the other woman wandered in the rugged Sonoran desert wilderness for 22 hours before being found by a US Border Patrol agent who tracked their footprints.
Four hours later, Border Patrol agents found the body of the deceased girl 1.6-km from the border.
Agents tracked the remaining woman and her 8-year-old daughter into Mexico, before the mother and child re-entered the United States and surrendered to Border Patrol.
The deceased girl died of hyperthermia and her death was ruled an accident, said Greg Hess, PCOME chief medical officer.
Up to May 30, PCOME recorded 58 migrant deaths in southern Arizona, most heat related. It recorded 127 deaths in 2018.
Human rights activist Juanita Molina said US border security measures were also partly to blame, along with the exhausted state of Indian child migrants once they reach the border.