“Each year of the last decade, the numbers have increased,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said. “Either the international community comes together to take action to address this human tragedy, resolve conflicts and find lasting solutions, or this terrible trend will continue†
Today, one in 78 people on Earth is displaced; it is a “dramatic milestonethat few would have expected a decade ago, UNHCR said.
By the end of 2021, the number of people displaced by war, violence, persecution and human rights violations was 89.3 million, according to the annual Global trends report.
That was eight percent more than in 2020 and “more than double what it was 10 years agoThe report’s authors said, attributing last year’s increase to numerous escalating conflicts “and new ones flaring up.”
Food Insecurity Driver
The number of displaced persons reached 100 million in May, 10 weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine led to a global shortage of grains and fertilizers from these major exporters, to which UN humanitarian aid workers have responded with growing concern.
Asked at a press conference in Geneva whether the global food insecurity crisis now underway would likely force even more people to leave their homes, High Commissioner Grandi said he “couldn’t imagine how” it could be otherwise.
“If you have a food crisis on top of… war, human rights (violations), climate, you name it; On top of that, if you have a food crisis, it will only accelerate the trends described in this report that we have already seen accelerate in the early months of the year.”
This meant that what countries did to cope with rising grain and fuel prices was also paramount to prevent a greater number of people from moving, the UNHCR chief continued, “and if you ask me how many “I don’t know, but it could be quite a large number.”
In all, 23 countries with a combined population of 850 million were faced with “medium or high-intensity conflicts,” the UN agency said, citing data from the World Bank.
Of the 89.3 million displaced worldwide last year, 27.1 million were refugees – 21.3 million under the mandate of UNHCR and 5.8 million Palestinians under the care of the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA.
Another 53.2 million were displaced, 4.6 million were asylum seekers and 4.4 million were Venezuelans who had little choice but to flee their country’s economic and political crisis.
Data from the UNHCR report underlined the critical role developing countries play in hosting IDPs, with low- and middle-income countries hosting more than four in five refugees.
With 3.8 million refugees within its borders, Türkiye hosts the largest number of refugeesfollowed by Colombia, with 1.8 million (including Venezuelan nationals), Uganda and Pakistan (1.5 million each) and Germany (1.3 million).
Relative to their national population, the Caribbean island of Aruba received the largest number of Venezuelans displaced abroad (one in six), with Lebanon hosting the highest number of refugees (one in eight), followed by Curaçao (one in 10), Jordan (one in 14) and Türkiye (one in 23) .
Misery for millions
Among the major new humanitarian crises that emerged in 2021, UNHCR noted that conflict in Ethiopian Tigray region displaced at least 2.5 million more people in their country, with about 1.5 million returning to their homes during the year.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August 2021 resulted in displacements within the country and to neighboring countries. The number of internally displaced people has risen for the 15th year in a row, UNHCR said, as more than 790,000 Afghans returned during the year.
Finally, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen saw an increase of between 100,000 and 500,000 internally displaced persons in 2021.