Migrant caravan of 7,200 people believed to be largest on record

Last Updated Oct 23, 2018 8:37 PM EDT

HUIXTLA, Mexico — A caravan of migrants heading for the U.S. stopped in southern Mexico Tuesday, about 1,000 miles and several weeks from the nearest U.S. border crossing. The migrants created a tarp city on their second stop into Mexico, leaving people entangled, emotional and exhausted.

The mass exodus organized by activists in Honduras is believed to be the largest migrant caravan on record, with an estimated 7,200 people, or about five times the size of the last one in April.

Most of the travelers tell CBS News they are fleeing extreme poverty, but that is not a condition for asylum or refugee status in the U.S.

Last year, the U.S. sent more than $300 million in foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. This year, that aid was slashed significantly. Extreme poverty is coupled with extreme violence. With some of the highest murder rates in the world, Central America is home to four of the top six most deadly cities worldwide.

On Tuesday, most of the caravan idled in Huixtla, Mexico, for a day's rest. It was a needed break for Veronica Vasquez. Her baby is sick, and on Monday, she lost her brother in the crowd. She said hunger is driving them out, and they have to take risks.

While she spoke, a boy sat down next to her. It turns out it was her brother, and they had been looking for each other since the day before. Despite what they've been through, she said there's no turning back, because they've come too far.