The number of forcibly displaced people hit a new high at the end of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some pre-existing drivers, according to a United Nations report.
In a report released Friday, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) found that 82.4 million people worldwide had been forcibly displaced by the end of 2020 – the highest number on record.
In 2012, that figure stood at 41 million, while in 2019 it reached 79.5 million.
As a result, more than 1% of the world’s population, or one in 95 people, is now forcibly displaced. This compares to one in 159 in 2010.
“The dynamics of poverty, food insecurity, climate change, conflict and displacement are increasingly interconnected and mutually reinforcing, pushing more and more people to seek safety and security,” said revealed the report.
The UN has said that reported incidents of conflict and violence have increased in nearly half of the world’s countries, despite an overall decline in 2020, and that “the scale and severity of food crises worsened in 2020 as protracted conflicts, extreme weather conditions and the economic fallout from COVID -19 exacerbated pre-existing situations ”.
Although those seeking asylum faced “unprecedented challenges” in 2020 and new applications fell by a million, the UN has found that the number of refugees worldwide has risen from 20.4 million in 2019 to almost 20.7 million at the end of 2020.
Some 21,000 unaccompanied or separated children filed new asylum applications in 2020, up from 25,000 a year earlier.
Eight out of ten people displaced across borders come from just ten countries; Syrians top the list with 6.8 million people, followed by Venezuelans with four million.
Turkey hosted nearly 3.7 million refugees in 2020, the largest population in the world.
Meanwhile, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) stood at 48 million – the highest level on record.
Colombia continues to record the highest number of IDPs, with 8.3 million IDPs at the end of 2020.
UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration were forced to suspend resettlement departures for several months at the start of the pandemic, although they resumed later.
“With many governments closing borders for long periods of time and restricting internal mobility, only a limited number of refugees and internally displaced people have been able to avail themselves of solutions such as voluntary return or resettlement in a country. third country, ”the report revealed.
Only 34,400 refugees were resettled in third countries, down 69% from 2019, with some 1.4 million refugees reportedly in need of resettlement.
The food crisis forecast for 2021 is “equally worrying”, according to the UN, with countries like South Sudan, Syria and the Central African Republic facing the risk of famine.
Likewise, the number of people pushed into extreme poverty due to COVID-19 is expected to reach an all-time high – between 119 million and 124 million in 2020 – according to the World Bank.
“Based on this trajectory, the question is no longer whether forced displacement will exceed 100 million people – but rather when,” the UN said.
“Clearly, the need to prevent conflicts and ensure displaced people have access to solutions has never been more pressing than it is today,” he added.
However, there have been signs of hope, according to the report, as the US government announced the admission of more resettled refugees – up to 62,500 in 2021 and 125,000 in 2022.
Colombia also said in February it would grant temporary protection status to more than one million Venezuelans.