The World Now Has a Record Number of Refugees

Figure is 22.5M; in all, 65M are living displaced from their homes
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2017 2:13 PM CDT
The World Now Has a Record Number of Refugees
South Sudanese refugees in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The world broke a grim record last year, with 65.6 million people living forcibly displaced from their homes, an increase of 300,000 over 2015. Most of those people—40.3 million—were displaced but still living within their own countries, per a new report by the UN refugee agency. The rest had fled their native countries, with that figure broken down into 22.5 million refugees and 2.8 million people "seeking asylum." Of the total 65.6 million people displaced, 10.3 million of them became so in 2016. The statistics reflect dire situations in countries such as Syria, which has been ravaged by a six-year civil war, and South Sudan, which, the UN report states, has suffered from a “disastrous breakdown of peace efforts.”

The New York Times reports that Syria produced the most refugees last year, with 5.5 million, while nearly 750,000 fled South Sudan. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (2.9 million), with Lebanon taking in the most displaced persons relative to the size of its population (one in six), reports Thomson Reuters. One glimmer of good news in the UN report is that there has been a slowing in the growth of displacement worldwide. The number of people uprooted within their own countries was down slightly last year, as was the number of asylum seekers. Those numbers were offset, however, by an increase in the number of refugees to 22.5 million, the highest number reported since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office was formed in 1950. (More refugees stories.)

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