World's refugee and displacement crisis hits record high

World's refugee and displacement crisis hits record high”

South Sudan saw the fastest-growing population displacement situation in 2016, with a total of 3.3 million people having fled their homes, according to the report.

The number of people displaced reached a record high of 65.6 million by the end of 2016, according to a report released by the UN Refugee Agency. The total, which includes refugees, asylum seekers and people displaced within the borders of their own countries, was about 300,000 higher than in 2015.

By population, the report said Syria still accounts for the biggest number of displaced people at 12 million, followed by Colombia with 7.7 million, Afghanistan with 4.7 million, Iraq with 4.2 million and South Sudan at 3.3 million. Despite a peace deal signed in November between the government and FARC rebels, fighting has continued among other armed groups, along with child soldier recruitment and gender-based violence, forcing people to seek safety elsewhere.

Children, including some 75,000 unaccompanied minors, constituted 51 per cent of the refugee population though they only make up 31 per cent of the world's entire population. "But, Lebanon, another one of the neighboring countries, is the country that has the highest per capita ratio compared to the local population in terms of the number of refugees". This total represents an enormous number of people needing protection worldwide.

But the United Nations high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said it was still a disheartening failure of worldwide diplomacy.

The information is contained in the UNHCR's latest Global Trends report which is a survey of the state of displacement internationally.

As the Syrian civil war rages on, desperately needed funding for humanitarian aid in the country has begun to dwindle, Grandi said, lamenting that very little of the billions promised at an worldwide donor's conference in Brussels in April had so far materialised. Within this appeal, UNICEF in Uganda requires almost $50 million in 2017 as well as $30 million in each year from 2018-2020 to provide critical health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, early childhood development, adolescent development, and child protection interventions, to both refugee and host community children. The new approach stipulates that political, economic, development and humanitarian actors should engage from the outset of a displacement crisis, and work with third countries towards the gradual socio-economic inclusion of the forcibly displaced. There were another 2.8 million asylum seekers, the report said.

Most of those under the agency's mandate came from Syria (5.5 million), Afghanistan (2.5 million) and South Sudan (1.4 million). "For a world in conflict, what is needed is determination and courage, not fear", added Grandi.

"More than one million children have been forced from their homes in South Sudan, often amid horrific violence", said Leila Pakkala, a UNICEF official in the region. Another 6.5 million people who had been forcibly displaced returned to their home communities.

The UN Children's Fund said Tuesday it requires 13.6 million US dollars to respond to the new influx of South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia, and another 7.3 million dollars in Kenya.

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