Millions driven from homes despite Covid
June 18, 2021 - The United Nations says the number of people forced to flee their homes has doubled in the past decade to reach 82.4 million, despite restrictions on movement during the global pandemic.
According to the annual report by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, conflict and the impact of climate change in places such as Mozambique, Ethiopia’s Tigray region and Africa’s broad Sahel area were among the leading sources of new movements of refugees and internally displaced people in 2020.
They added hundreds of thousands more people to the overall count, which has for years been dominated by the millions who have fled countries such as Syria and Afghanistan due to protracted wars or fighting.
The report said that at the end of last year there were 5.7 million Palestinians, 3.9 million Venezuelans and an additional 20.7 million refugees from various other countries displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced in their own countries. Some 4.1 million more sought asylum.
Nearly 70% of those affected are from just five countries – Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar .
UNHCR said now 1% of all humanity is displaced, and there are twice as many forcibly displaced people than a decade ago. Some 42% of them were aged under 18, and nearly 1 million babies were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020.
- Amid pandemic, number of people forced to flee homes has risen, says U.N. (Reuters)
- UN: Millions driven from homes in 2020 despite COVID crisis (AP)
- Record number of displaced people despite Covid: UN refugee agency (BBC)
- UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement (UNHCR)