ISLA, Mexico — Thousands of wary Central American migrants resumed their push toward the United States on Sunday, entering a treacherous part of the caravan’s journey on a trek through one of Mexico’s deadliest states.

About 4,000 migrants are now headed along what some called the “route of death” toward the town of Cordoba, Veracruz, which is about 124 miles up the road from their last rest stop. The day’s hike was one of the longest yet, as the exhausted group of travelers tried to make progress any way it could to the U.S. border still hundreds of miles away.

Along the way, Mexicans were lending a hand.

Catalina Munoz said she bought tortillas on credit to assemble tacos of beans, cheese and rice when she heard the caravan would pass through her tiny town of 3,000 inhabitants in the southern state of Oaxaca en route to Veracruz.

She then gathered 15 members from her community of Benemerito Juarez to help make the tacos, fill water bottles and carry fruit to weary travelers on the roadside.

Manuel Calderon, 43, a migrant from El Salvador, said he felt blessed when he saw the townsfolk waiting with food and water.

“I hadn’t eaten and I was very thirsty,” he said, before slinging his backpack over a shoulder and placing a straw hat on his head to resume the long journey.

On Sunday, others who set out on their own began arriving in Puebla and Mexico City after the group was beset by divisions between migrants and caravan organizers.

A trek via the sugar fields and fruit groves of Veracruz takes the majority through a state where hundreds of migrants have disappeared in recent years, falling prey to kidnappers looking for ransom payments.

The migrants trekking through Veracruz on Sunday were convinced that traveling as a large mass was their best hope for reaching the U.S. The vast majority of migrants are fleeing rampant poverty, gang violence and political instability primarily in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Mynor Chavez, a 19-year-old from Copan, Honduras, was determined to continue.

“I have no prospects (in Honduras). I graduated as a computer technician and not even with a degree have I been able to find work,” he said of life in his home country.

In his desperation to flee, Chavez was one of the many people who crossed a river from Guatemala into Mexico, defying authorities deployed to patrol that country’s southern frontier.

It remained to be seen if the main group will now continue directly north through Veracruz to the closest U.S. border, or veer slightly westward and make a stop in the country’s capital.

The capital could serve as a better launching pad for reaching a broader array of destinations along the U.S. border. They could also receive additional support, although Mexican officials have appeared conflicted over whether to help or hinder their journeys.

Mexico now faces the unprecedented situation of having three caravans stretched over 300 miles of highway in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz.