Nearly 80mn people forcibly displaced worldwide; 26mn living as refugees

NEW DELHI: The population of forcibly displaced people around the world due to war, conflict, persecution, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order reached 79.5 million in 2019, according to the latest Global Trends report by UNHCR. This is an increase of 8.7 million from 2018. Of this, a whopping 26 million are refugees alone (20.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate and 5.6 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate). 
What is noteworthy is that more than two thirds of all refugees are from just five countries-Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. 

With 3.6 million people, Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country, followed by Colombia (1.8 million) and Pakistan (1.4 million). 

Sadly, in the last one decade, only a fraction (3.9 million) have returned to their country of origin. 

Displaced population and current pandemic
While Covid-19 has led many governments to impose lockdowns and close borders, it has not been able to stop armed conflicts and subsequent displacements. According to Norwegian Refugee Council, between March 23 and May 15 this year, armed conflict in 19 countries displaced at least 661,000 people. 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has seen the highest number of displacement. Clashes between armed groups and the country’s military have forced more than 480,000 people to flee their homes. 

Most vulnerable
Displaced population is also the most vulnerable and facing a double crisis in the time of the current pandemic.According to UNHCR, they are mostly hosted in countries with weaker health, water and sanitation systems. This population depends on fragile income which has seen an erosion due to pandemic. As many as 134 refugee hosting countries are reporting local transmission of Covid-19. No doubt, more support is now needed to protect them. 
Source: Global Trends report, UNHCR


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