Home Emergency Management News UNHCR: 1 in 113 People Are Now Displaced Worldwide

UNHCR: 1 in 113 People Are Now Displaced Worldwide


Big increases seen in displaced person totals

A report recently issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that 65.3 million people were displaced around the world in 2015. This is the first time the number has ever surpassed the 60 million mark, and the number is significantly higher -- a jump of 5.8 million -- than the 2014 total, which was 59.5 million.

The UNHCR report broke down the numbers between those who are seeking asylum: 3.2 million; internally displaced persons: 40.8 million; and refugees: 21.3 million.

According to the UNHCR, 34,000 people per day, or 24 people per minute, were displaced in 2015. The UN agency also noted that 65.3 million people together would rank as the 21st largest nation in the world.

Statistics gathered show that more than 50 percent of the total numbers came from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Approximately half of the refugees are children under the age of 18, with the number of unaccompanied minors at an all time high level.

Developing nations hosting majority of refugees

Worldwide, developing nations hosted majority of the refugees -- a whopping 86 percent. Turkey played host to the highest number of people for the second consecutive year. The United States accepted the highest number of displaced persons for resettlement -- a total of 66,500 of the 107,100 resettlements around the world.

According to the UNHCR, numbers continue to grow since the organization has been gathering and recording data, and there has been an increase of more than 50 percent in just five years. Many are choosing to escape by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, which has now claimed the lives of thousands of refugees.

Impacts in Central America

Although much of the focus has centered around the middle east and Europe, Central America has had its share of violence that has resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing to Mexico and the United States. The numbers jumped from 20,900 in 2012, to 109,800 in 2015, representing "a fivefold increase in just three years," according to the UNHCR.

Most of these displacements are due to conflict, as indicated by the UNHCR report titled Global Trends, and protracted events (more than five years) have kept individuals from returning to their homes.

The growing refugee crisis is likely to get worse in the face of climate change, as water and food scarcity force individuals to flee in order to find these basic needs and devolve nations into conflict. The goal of the UNHCR with any refugee is to offer them international protection and help them find stability and rebuild their lives.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.