Monday, June 20, 2016

Organ Pipe Desert: A Collection of Water Tanks to Save Lives and Migrants' Belongings Left Behind

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Every summer, as temperatures rise to the three digits, there are concerns for the thousands of migrants crossing through the remote areas of the Sonoran Desert. The Arizona Republic reports that 17 bodies have been recovered for the month of June and a total of 48 migrants have been found dead since the beginning of the year, according to Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Hess.

Summer is the most concerning time for immigration rights and humanitarian groups like Humane Borders and No Más Muertes/No More Deaths. The latter leaves gallons of water (all with messages of encouragement), canned food and medicine in desert areas migrants are likely to walk through. Humane Borders volunteers fill up water tanks that hold 30+ gallons, also in areas where they notice a pattern of high migrant activity. If volunteers come across migrants who need medical attention, they're prepared to help. Then, there are also times when they have to get Border Patrol involved to save people's lives.

On Thursday, I went on a 12-hour water run to the western part of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with Joel Smith of Humane Borders. The organization also has water tanks in other portions of Organ Pipe, as well as in the desert of Altar Valley in Sasabe, and in Ironwood Forest National Monument, near Marana. 

This water saves humans. The issue of humanitarian aid shouldn't be up for discussion, even as politics continuously dehumanize migrants.

I'm eternally grateful to people like Joel, who volunteer entire days to try to save as many valuable lives as possible.

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