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‘A staggering milestone:’ Over 100m people driven from their homes worldwide

May 24, 2022 at 12:26 pm

A view from a camp, where Syrian displaced civilians shelter in after the attacks of the Assad regime and its supporters, in Idlib, Syria on April 11, 2022. [İzzettin Kasım – Anadolu Agency]

Over 100 million people have been driven from their homes around the world, according to new data released by the UNHCR, making it the highest number on record.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February has been a huge push factor in the mass movement of people, as have conflicts in Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement that such a figure is “sobering and alarming in equal measure” and that such a record should never have been set. “This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes.”

The figure represents one per cent of the global population and is equivalent to the 14th most populous country worldwide.

READ: 59.1m internally displaced people worldwide in 2021

In 2012 there were 41 million displaced people and in 2020 over 82 million were displaced. By the end of 2021, 90 million people were displaced, driven out by fighting and violence in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Roughly 23.7 million people in the Asia-Pacific region were internally displaced in 2021 because of natural disasters like storms and floods.

The UN has said that more than 14 million people are thought to have fled their homes since the fighting began in Ukraine. Roughly eight million are internally displaced and six million are in the neighbouring countries.

Grandi said that “the international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive” but that the world should act on the root causes of conflict around the world.

“Compassion is alive, and we need a similar mobilisation for all crises around the world. But ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure. To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability so that innocent people are not forced to gamble between acute danger at home or precarious flight and exile.”