For the first time since the World War II era, the number of people forced from their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency says. Syrians fleeing the bloodletting at home and a fast-growing web of other crises across the world accounted for the spike in the displaced, the United Nation's High Commission for Refugees says in its annual report. At the end of last year, 51.2 million people had been forced from their homes worldwide, six million more than the previous year and the highest figure of displacement since World War II, the UNHCR says.
"Now we have a multiplication of new crises," UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres says. "Today we not only have an absence of a global governance system, but we have sort of an unclear sense of power in the world." The number of those displaced by violence include almost 17 million international refugees worldwide, and more than 33 million displaced within their own countries by violence. Syria's civil war alone has forced 9 million people to flee their homes, with nearly 3 million escaping abroad while more than 6.5 million have been displaced within the country. (Read more United Nations stories.)