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Ciudad Juarez Facing Economic Crisis and Mass Exodus Due to Drug Violence

Mexico citizens from the city of Ciudad Juarez continue to flee the city as a result of the increasing drug cartel violence. Reuters recently reported these individuals are fleeing by the tens of thousands.

As many as 200,000 – more than 10 percent of the city’s 1.5 million population – has left Ciudad Juarez – in the last 18 months. Many are exiting for fear of a turf war between cartels. The violence has made the city one of the world’s deadliest places.

Drug murders can reach up to a dozen a day and bullet-riddled vehicles and bodies in pools of blood have become commonplace on busy streets as the city continues to lapse under the pressure.

Ciudad Juarez lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. The city has reached what many report is its lowest point in years of violence when suspected drug gang hit men burst into a party of high school students in January and killed 15 people – most of them teenagers.

Nearly one quarter of the homes in the city lie empty as residents are struggling to escape. New homes are left vacant and wealthy or middle class families are moving to Guadalajara and Monterrey to seek safety. Since the violence began in the city in 2008, more than 4,500 drug murders have occurred.

While estimates of the size of the exodus from the city vary, both academics and Ciudad Juarez officials put the number between 75,000 and 200,000 since 2008. An economic crisis has also hit the city, but officials claim it is the violence that continues to drive people away.

"An unprecedented tragedy has been unfolding in our community and our entire region is at immediate risk of further violence, devastation and chaos," El Paso city councilors Steve Ortega and Beto O'Rourke said in a February resolution calling for an end to drug violence.

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