Campaign focuses on border canal safety
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Some people think there should be alligators in the water. Poor little Eva would have been just a snack.
Local and federal law enforcement officials, along with the Consulate General of México, launched an initiative to warn border residents about dangers posed by swift-moving water in border canals and inhospitable desert climates.
Officials from the U.S. Border Patrol, El Paso Fire Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Mexican consulate in El Paso met along the Rio Grande on Wednesday morning to promote the Border Safety Initiative campaign.
The initiative is aimed at reducing deaths and injuries to migrants and border residents who enter the Rio Grande either for recreational purposes or as an attempt to enter the United States illegally.
“For the Consulate General of Mexico, it is important to avoid as far as possible any kind of death among our co-nationals since every year Mexicans die in their attempt to cross the border under the extreme temperatures of the desert or in their attempt to cross the canals,” said Luis Adrian Sosa, spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.
Sosa said coordination that currently exists with U.S. authorities has reduced the number of such incidents in the past few years.
In 2009, 10 people died attempting to cross the border via waterways. That number dropped to eight in 2010. Sosa said so far this year, there have been four deaths.
The most recent cases were 5-year-old Eva Jaredzi Beltran-Aguilar of Juárez, who was found dead in the Franklin Canal near Calleros Street in Downtown on July 4, and her father, Rodolfo Gustavo Beltran Rubio, 30, who was found two days later in the same canal near Clark Street and El Paso Drive.
Police released a photo of the dress of a girl who died July 5th at University Medical Center after she was found in a Central El Paso canal. (El Paso Police Department)