Friday, 20 October, 2017

Refugees record 65.6 million globally as South Sudan exodus soars

JPEG- 45.8 Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul at the consecration event on Ayod county
Damon Campbell | 20 June, 2017, 01:16

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has revealed that number of people displaced from their homes across the world due to war and persecution has climbed to a record 65.6 million past year.

"This equates to one person becoming displaced every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence", UNHCR pointed out in a statement.

The UNHCR reports that one in every 113 people worldwide is either a refugee or is forcibly displaced within his or her own country.

"By any measure this is an unacceptable number", said Filipo Grandi, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

The UNHCR said there have been annual increases to the global displacement total for the past five years, but while the 2016 total increased, the rate at which displacement grew that year slowed.

In 2016, 22.5 million refugees fled their home country - the highest number since the agency was founded in 1950.

A third (4.9 million people) are hosted by the world's least developed countries.

Syria's conflict remains the world's biggest producer of refugees (5.5 million), however in 2016 the biggest new factor was South Sudan where the disastrous breakdown of peace efforts in July that year contributed to the outflow of 739,900 people by year's end (1.87 million today).

Turkey, which has taken in the largest number of Syrians, to a total of 2.9 million at the end of 2015.

In 2016, Australians donated a total of $640,000 to go towards family reunification and foster care for thousands of displaced children who were separated from their families.

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A Ghanaian UN peacekeeper stands watch as children look on at a protection camp for displaced civilians in Bentiu, South Sudan June 18, 2017.

That's 300,000 more people than the year before.

Displaced South Sudanese gather during a visit of UNCHR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi to a new site for displaced people outside of the United Nations protected camp, in Bentiu, South Sudan Sunday, June 18, 2017. "Now, the authorities have a greater responsibility because they are in charge of this country and it is under their leadership that we must seek security", Grandi said.

More than two thirds of the funds were raised to support UNHCR's general emergency operations, 19 per cent was raised for emergencies in Syria, South Sudan, Iraq and Ecuador and 6 per cent was for specific projects providing targeted support for women, girls and children.

UNHCR also sounded an alarm over another rapidly escalating crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 1 million people have been displaced internally and over 30,000 terms have crossed into Angola since August.

Second is displacement of people inside their own countries, whose numbers were 40.3 million at the end of 2016 compared to 40.8 million a year earlier.

The report showed despite huge focus on Europe's refugee crisis, it is the poorer countries that host most of the world's refugees. "For a world in conflict, what is needed is determination and courage, not fear", added Grandi.

At the same time, a further 189,300 refugees were accepted for resettlement across 37 countries, while many others returned home.

Syria's six-year conflict alone has sent more than 5.5 million people seeking safety in other countries, including 825,000 last year alone, accounting for the world's largest group of refugees.

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