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June 18, 2020 - A record 79.5 million people worldwide – or more than one percent of all humanity – were displaced at the end of 2019 as a result of conflict or persecution, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its annual “Global Trends” report that the number of asylum-seekers, internally displaced people and refugees shot up by nearly nine million from a year earlier – the biggest rise in its records.
UNHCR says the surge is due to a new way of counting people displaced from Venezuela and a “worrying” new displacement in the persistent trouble spots of Congo, the Sahel region of Africa, Yemen and Syria, which alone accounted for more than 13 million people on the move.
While the total figure of people facing forced displacement rose from 70.8 million at the end of 2018, some 11 million people were “newly displaced” last year, with poorer countries among those most affected.
UNHCR says forced displacement has nearly doubled from 41 million people in 2010, and five countries – Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar – are the source of nearly two-thirds of people displaced abroad.