The vehicle fell into an irrigation canal in the early hours of the morning in Valverde province, according to local authorities. The deceased are suspected to be illegal immigrants.
Two of the people on board managed to get out and call for help in the town of Peñuelas, but in the end there were 13 fatalities, including two minors.
Several people are missing following the incident, which has highlighted migrant smuggling in the area. The same vehicle had made several trips this weekend, also allegedly to transport people seeking to reach the Dominican Republic illegally.
The deceased are nine men, two women and two girls. Only four of them have been identified. Many Haitian immigrants, especially women and minors, die every year seeking to enter and settle in the Dominican Republic.
Por lo menos 13 personas murieron anoche en un aparatoso accidente en el paraje Peñuela del municipio de Esperanza en Valverde. Entre los muertos hay 2 niños; las víctimas eran nacionales haitianos que viajaban ilegalmente en una jeepeta marca Toyota 4Runner que cayó a un canal. pic.twitter.com/ygDAYZeLk7
The tweet reads, "At least 13 people died last night in an accident in the Peñuela area of the municipality of Esperanza in Valverde. Among the dead are 2 children; the victims were Haitian nationals who were traveling illegally in a Toyota 4Runner which fell into a canal."
Following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in 2021, and the chaos prevailing in the country, migration flows to the Dominican Republic have increased.
"Anyone would use whatever is at hand to get out of there, they live in very hard conditions", declared in an interview to the missionary clergyman of collaboration in Haiti, Tomas Garcia. According to the missionary, one of the causes that influence the increase of the migratory flow towards the neighboring country, is the great number of Haitians that are deported from the United States, without any availability to receive asylum.
As an immediate consequence, when these deportees arrive in their country of origin, they will try at all costs to immigrate to the Dominican Republic. The proximity between the two countries conditions more to emigrate than the real possibilities of substantially improving living conditions, since the Dominican Republic is a poor country with innumerable social problems and where Haitians suffer strong discrimination.
In 2021, photos went viral showing U.S. immigration authorities violently dispersing a group of Haitian asylum seekers on horseback at the southern border of the United States.
Since then, the mistreatment and violation of the human rights of Haitian and other black immigrants has only worsened.
"We are working as partners in the Caribbean to ensure the fastest and most humane repatriation process possible, including funding for reception and reintegration support organizations," said Emily Mendrala, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, which manifests the U.S. government's unchanging intolerant attitude toward Caribbean immigrants.