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Record levels of refugees and displaced persons
July 23 2018, 05:27 | Irvin Gilbert
The vast majority of displaced people, 40.3 million, left their home but did not cross the border of their country.
A record 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide by the end of 2016, reports the United Nationsrefugee agency (UNHCR) - a number higher than the U.K.'s entire population.
One bright spot was that more refugees returned home than in years past (552,200 people).
"It speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common goal in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world's refugees, internally displaced and asylum-seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued".
Syria and South Sudan were far from the only countries where people were being uprooted en masse, with Monday's report also pointing to large-scale displacement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, just to name a few.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, said: "By any measure this [the number of refugees is] an unacceptable number, and it speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common goal in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world's refugees, internally displaced and asylum seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued".
However, the total number seeking safety across worldwide borders as refugees topped 22.5 million, the highest number seen since UNHCR was founded in 1950.
The U.N. attributes a lot of that uptick to the Syrian war.
Those rankings do not include the long-standing Palestinian population of roughly 5.3 million, but that figure is included in the total.
In 2016, Australians donated a total of $640,000 to go towards family reunification and foster care for thousands of displaced children who were separated from their families.
"The system protecting refugees will collapse if we do not step up our support to countries like Uganda", said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council in a statement.
The Global Trends report is based on the UNHCR's own data, data it receives from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and data received from governments.
54% of all refugees worldwide come from Syria with 4.9 million, Afghanistan with 2.7 million and Somalia with 1.1 million.
- Developing regions host 84 percent of the world's refugees.
Of the 65.6 million people displaced, 22.5 million are refugees - the highest number ever recorded.
The figure equates to "one person displaced every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence".
Lebanon is a much smaller country than the other four, so it actually accepted the largest number of refugees in relation to its population: 183 refugees per 1,000 Lebanese inhabitants. "Now, the authorities have a greater responsibility because they are in charge of this country and it is under their leadership that we must seek security", Grandi said. The report says even this number is likely to underestimate the true figure. (These are the most recent complete numbers available.) This is a 5.8 million increase from the previous year and is the highest number of displaced persons ever recorded.