The Ukraine war and other conflicts pushed the number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution over the staggering milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) informed on Sunday.
“One hundred million is a stark figure — sobering and alarming in equal measure. It’s a record that should never have been set,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “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”.
According to UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide rose to 90 million by the end of 2021, propelled by new waves of violence or protracted conflict in countries including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In 2022, the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country this year and forced around 6 million to leave the nation.
© UNICEF/Zerihun Sewunet
Displaced families affected by drought, Somali Region, Ethiopia.
100 million people forcibly displaced worldwide represents 1% of the global population and is equivalent to the 14th most populous country in the world.
The number includes refugees and asylum seekers as well as the 53.2 million people displaced inside their borders by conflict.
“The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive,” Grandi added. “Compassion is alive, and we need a similar mobilization 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”.
Last week, the International Organization for Migration informed that a record 59.1 million people were displaced within their homelands last year, four million more than in 2020.
Conflict and violence triggered 14.4 million internal displacements in 2021, a nearly 50 per cent increase over the previous year.
Meanwhile, weather-related events such as floods, storms and cyclones resulted in some 23.7 million internal displacements in 2021, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region.