‘I Had Never Seen So Many Drownings’: Border Town Requests Refrigerators For Bodies As Morgues Overwhelmed

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The fire department in Eagle Pass, Texas, has requested refrigerators to store the bodies of drowned migrants which have overwhelmed the area’s morgues and funeral homes.

Eagle Pass Fire Department Chief Manuel Mello III said authorities have been conducting daily body recoveries in the Rio Grande River, Fox News reported. With about 30 body recoveries per month, Maverick County, where Eagle Pass is located, is on track to have 300 body recoveries this year, he said.

“There are so many bodies being recovered that the morticians are asking for assistance,” Mello said. “I had never seen so many drownings like we’re seeing right now. We do a body recovery daily. It’s very traumatic for my personnel.”

Several children recently died crossing the border, Mello said, according to the outlet. Three-month-old infants died after their uncle fell into a hole while crossing the river and lost hold of the babies. Two weeks ago, 13 drowned when a large group of migrants crossed the river at the Del Rio sector, Fox News previously reported.

Mello said Eagle Pass has four ambulances and two reserve trucks which are now overwhelmed dealing with an estimated 7,000 daily emergency calls, Fox News reported. (RELATED: Border Patrol Agent Jumps Into Rio Grande To Save Illegal Migrants From Drowning) 

The Del Rio sector of the U.S.-Mexico border has witnessed a recorded 376,136 migrants since October 2021, the beginning of the 2022 fiscal year, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The agency has encountered 1.9 million migrants across the entire border in the current fiscal year.

CBP has conducted nearly 19,000 search and rescue efforts since October, Fox News reported.

Mello called on the federal government to assist local authorities with the migrant influx, the outlet reported.

“I would like to see the federal government jump in and help out in whatever way they can,” he said. “If they could at least stop this migration, that would be awesome.”

The migrant influx and increased death count have led local firefighters to take more days off to handle the detrimental impact of the crisis on their mental health, Mello told the outlet. The increased number of days off has led to staffing issues among local emergency services.