Global forced displacement tops 70 million – UNHCR

The highest number ever recorded.

Riyaz Patel

Despite populist rhetoric in the West, the real refugee crisis is playing out in developing countries, which hosts most of the more than 70 million displaced people who have fled war and persecution, the United Nations has said.

Half of the worlds forcibly displaced are children and the 2018 total is the highest in nearly 70 years, doubling that of 20 years ago, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in its annual report, Global Trends.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said notions that Europe, the United States or Australia has a refugee emergency is a fallacy.

“Eighty percent of the refugees, so the people who have left their country are in the next country, so, this image – I have said it many times, but it bears repeating it – you know, when you say ‘Europe has a refugees emergency or the United States or Australia’. No, most of the refugees are in fact in the countries next to where the war is and unfortunately, that means mostly in poor countries or in middle-income countries That is where the crisis is. That’s where we need to focus,” Grandi outlined.

Alarming as the figure is, it’s “conservative,” as it does not include most of the 4 million Venezuelans who have fled abroad since 2015.

The report coincides with news that more than 300,000 people have fled inter-ethnic violence in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since early June, complicating the tracing and treatment of patients at risk from Ebola.

UN agencies, quoting local officials said at least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of DRC in the past week in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.

The UNHCR fears the escalation could engulf large parts of the province, amid reports of killings, kidnappings and sexual violence unleashed against civilians.

“When you say ‘Europe has a refugees emergency or the United States or Australia. No, most of the refugees are in fact in the countries next to where the war is and unfortunately, that means mostly in poor countries or in middle-income countries.”

Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees

Aid agencies in the DRC are scrambling to get a clearer picture as the displaced are in urgent need of shelter, basic household items and food. People are now sleeping in the open or in public buildings, with the biggest concentration of displaced people being 10,000 sleeping in or near the church in Drodro, Djugu Territory, without any viable assistance.

DRC has an estimated 4.5 million internally displaced people, according to UN figures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *