Record 68.5 million people fleeing war or persecution worldwide
by Ern2906 ·
As data shows one in every 110 people is displaced, UN special envoy Angelina Jolie warns of terrible human consequences of Syrias aid shortfall
The number of people forced to flee their homes rose to a record high in 2017, with 16.2 million people newly displaced around the world. The figure includes people who have been displaced for the first time, and those who have been forced from their homes multiple times.
The figure of 68.5 million displaced people 3 million higher than the total population of the UK includes 25.4 million refugees, 40 million internally displaced and 3.1 million asylum seekers.
The increase came despite the return of more than 5 million displaced people to their countries of origins.
The annual figures, compiled by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, saw five countries accounting for two-thirds of all refugees (excluding those defined as long-term Palestinian refugees): Syria (6.3 million); Afghanistan (2.6 million); South Sudan (2.4 million); Myanmar (1.2 million) and Somalia (986,400).
The new figures emerged after the actor and director Angelina Jolie, a special envoy for the UN agency, warned of a funding shortfall for the agencys work in Syria the largest group of displaced.
Speaking during a visit to Domiz Camp in Iraq on Sunday, home to 33,000 refugees displaced by the Syrian war, Jolie told a press conference that the agencys appeal for Syrian refugees was hugely underfunded even in comparison with last year.
When UNHCRs Syria response was only 50% funded last year, and this year it is only 17% funded, there are terrible human consequences. We should be under no illusions about this. When there is even not the bare minimum of aid, refugee families cannot receive adequate medical treatment, Jolie said. Women and girls are left vulnerable to sexual violence, many children cannot go to school, and we squander the opportunity of being able to invest in refugees so that they can acquire new skills and support their families.
The new totals come at the end of a decade of sharply rising numbers of displaced, which have risen inexorably from more than 42 million in 2007 to the current total. This means one in every 110 people in the world is currently displaced, with most of the sharp increase occurring in the last five years.