The number of people forcibly displaced has reached a new high by the end of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated some pre-existing conditions, a United Nations report has found.
In a report released Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that 82.4 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced by the end of 2020 – the highest number since all registers.
In 2012, the figure was 41 million, while in 2019, it reached 79.5 million.
As a result, more than 1 percent of the world’s population, or one in 95 people, is now displaced by force. This compares with one in 159 in 2010.
“The dynamics of poverty, food insecurity, climate change, conflict and displacement are increasingly interconnected and mutually reinforcing, leading more and more people to seek security and safety,” he found. report.
The UN said that reported incidents of conflict and violence have increased in almost half of the world’s countries, despite the general decline in 2020, and that “the magnitude and severity of food crises have worsened. in 2020 as protracted conflicts, extreme weather and the economic repercussions of COVID -19 pre-existing situations worsen ”.
Although asylum seekers face “unprecedented challenges” in 2020 and new applications have dropped by one million, the UN has found that the number of refugees worldwide has risen from 20 , 4 million in 2019 to nearly 20.7 million by the end of 2020.
Some 21,000 unaccompanied or separated children have submitted new asylum applications in 2020, compared to 25,000 a year earlier.
Eight out of 10 people displaced across borders come from only 10 countries; Syrians are at the top of the list with 6.8 million people, followed by Venezuelans with four million.
Turkey will receive nearly 3.7 million refugees by 2020, the largest population in the world
Meanwhile, the number of internal displacements (IDPs) was 48 million – the highest level ever recorded.
Colombia continues to report the highest number of IDPs, with 8.3 million internally displaced by the end of 2020.
The UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration have been forced to plant resettlement facilities for several months in the first phase of the pandemic, although they have since resumed.
“With many governments closing borders for extended periods of time and limiting internal mobility, only a limited number of refugees and internally displaced persons have been able to benefit from solutions such as voluntary return or resettlement in a third country,” he found. report.
Only 34,400 refugees have been resettled in third countries, a 69 per cent drop compared to 2019, with an estimated 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement.
Food crisis forecasts for 2021 are “equally worrying,” according to the UN, with countries such as South Sudan, Syria, and the Central African Republic running the risk of famine.
Similarly, the number of people pushed into extreme poverty due to COVID-19 is expected to grow to an unprecedented level – between 119 million and 124 million by 2020 – according to the World Bank.
“Based on this trajectory, the question is no longer whether forced displacement exceeds 100 million people – but rather when,” the UN said.
“Clearly, the need to prevent conflicts and ensure that displaced people have access to solutions has never been more urgent than it is now,” he added.
However, there have been some signs of hope, the report said, that the U.S. government has announced the admission of more resettled refugees – up to 62,500 in 2021 and 125,000 in 2022.
Colombia also said in February that it would grant temporary protection status to more than one million Venezuelans.