Number of refugees in 2014 increases by 8 mln, reaches 60 mln - UN
At least 59.5 million persons became refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2014, according to a UNHCR annual report which was released on Thursday.
A total of 19.5 million are refugees and 38.2 million are IDPs. A total of 1.8 million people asked for asylum.
This is the highest number ever recorded, according to the report.
The number of IDPs in 2013, due to military conflicts across the world, was 51.2 million, which was 8.3 million less than in 2014.
More than half of the refugees are less than 18 years old.
According to UN, the rapid increase of in the number of IDPs occurred due to the beginning of conflict in Syria in 2011. Syria has the highest number of those forced to leave their homes: 3.8 million refugees and 7.7 million IDPs.
Second place after Syria is Afghanistan – 2.59 million people, and in third place, Somalia – 1.1 million persons.
These countries are followed by Sudan, South Sudan, Congo, Burma, Central African Republic, Iraq and Eritrea.
Conflicts and crises that caused forces relocation include conflicts in the Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, South Sudan, Burundi, Iran, Yemen, Ukraine, Kirgizia, Pakistan and others.
In 2014, UNHCR managed to bring 126,800 people back to their homes. This number was the lowest in 31 years.
Almost 86% of the refugees live in developed countries, the rest – in countries included on the UN list of the least developed countries, according to the report.