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13th Aug 2022

Record number of people fleeing violence, says UN

  • An estimated 1.4 million refugees needed to be resettled last year but only 4 percent found new homes. (Photo: © UNHCR/Louise Donovan)
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Over 100 million people are currently displaced by conflict, a figure that the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has described as dramatic.

A 48-page report out Thursday (16 June) by the agency says it means 1 in every 78 persons has been forced to flee.

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  • The global trends for the displaced is on a steady rise, says the UNHCR (Photo: UNHCR)

"[It is] a dramatic milestone that few would have expected a decade ago," notes the report.

Although the figure is for this year, the trend towards 100 million was well on its way before Russia's invasion in Ukraine in February.

Last year it was just over 89 million.

"This is more than double the 42.7 million people who remained forcibly displaced at the end of 2012," said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a statement attached to the report.

The vast majority, 83 percent, are hosted in low and middle-income countries, while the most impoverished states provided asylum to 27 percent of the total. Those impoverished states, including places like Chad, Congo, Sudan, and Uganda, account for less than 1.3 percent of the world's GDP.

Meanwhile, Turkey continues to stand out with the highest number of refugees anywhere, at 3.8 million, followed by Colombia with 1.8 million.

In comparison, high-income countries like those found in Europe hosted only 16 percent with most in Germany.

More than two-thirds of all refugees come from Syria, followed by Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.

This comes on top of a spike of old and new conflicts affecting some 23 countries, double when compared to the last decade.

Hotspots in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, insurgencies in the central Sahel region of Africa, Myanmar, Venezuela, and elsewhere have seen large numbers of people fleeing.

Food shortages

These trends are only likely to be further exacerbated by food shortages and high energy prices due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Programme's wheat supply, which has since stopped given Russian bombings.

Meanwhile, the number of refugees worldwide stood at over 21 million at the end of last year, more than 10.5 million a decade ago.

Yet efforts to resettle recognised refugees is falling short.

Only 4 percent of the estimated 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement last year were resettled with Canada (20,400) being the most generous, followed by the United States (13,700) and Sweden (6,700).

More people had also filed for asylum in the United States than in other country, followed by Germany, Mexico and Costa Rica, says the report.

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