Recent conflicts lead to record numbers of refugees and displaced people
Instability and conflict in the Middle East and Africa have contributed to what the United Nations describes as the largest number of people forcibly displaced from home since WorldWar II. Most of those uprooted can be classified as internally displaced persons, refugees or asylum-seekers. Read related article.
Continued instability and conflicts in places like Syria and South Sudan from 2013 to mid-2014 helped push the number of persons forcibly removed from their homes worldwide to 51.2 million. The chart includes refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum-seekers. It does not include Palestinians covered under a U.N. mandate.
2014 (through June)
African conflicts include Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
Internally displaced persons
By mid-2014 about 26 million people, or more than half of the population forcibly displaced, were classified as internally displaced persons (IDPs), people who remained in their country of origin but were forced to flee their homes.
By June 2014, Syria’s civil war had resulted in 6.5 million new IDPs while the conflict in South Sudan added 900,000 more.
Since mid-2014 at least 3 million more people have been internally displaced by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, fighting in eastern Ukraine, attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the war in Yemen.
About 13 million people are refugees, those who have fled their home country because of war or persecution. Most flee to neighboring countries. This sudden and massive flow of refugees is crippling fragile economies and damaging delicate political and religious balances in the Middle East and Africa.
In three years, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have taken in a
total of almost
2.2 million refugees, most from the Syrian crisis.
Major refugee origin country
Major refugee destination country
Other major conflict country
Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya have absorbed more than a half-million South Sudanese refugees.
Asylum-seekers are people who want refugee status. Western Europe's close proximity, relatively stable economy and liberal policies toward migrants have attracted many asylum-seekers, including those trying to cross the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats. Legally, they must prove they faced persecution at home, but some may be fleeing poverty.
2014 (as of June)
SOURCE: U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Eurostat. GRAPHIC: Gene Thorp and Cristina Rivero - The Washington Post. Published April 21, 2015.