UN: Global refugee crisis worst in decades

Number of displaced people tops 45 million with due largely to conflicts in Syria, DRC and Mali

By Natasha Lennard

Published June 19, 2013 3:11PM (EDT)

According to the UNHCR's latest global trends report, we are currently in the midst of the worst global refugee crisis in 20 years, with over 45 million currently displaced people recorded. This includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 millioninternally displaced people.

The report points to longterm conflicts in Mali, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo as contributing heavily to the number of displaced peoples. António Guterres, UN high commissioner for refugees and head of UNHCR, said "These truly are alarming numbers. They reflect individual suffering on a huge scale and they reflect the difficulties of the international community in preventing conflicts and promoting timely solutions for them." The Guardian reported:

The number of 28.8 million IDPs is the highest level in more than two decades, mainly because of the war in Syria. The three-year conflict, which has claimed 90,000 lives, has led to 4.25 million Syrians being internally displaced and more than 1.6 million refugees, concentrated in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Last week the UN launched its biggest appeal – $5bn (£3.2bn) – as it warned that half of Syria's population will need humanitarian aid by the end of the year.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Democratic Republic Of Congo Displaced Peoples Mali Refugee Crisis Refugees Syria Un Unhcr