Number of world’s displaced over 50 million for first time since second world war
For the first time since the World War II era, the number of people forced to flee their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency said on World Refugee Day. (June 20, 2014)
At the end of last year (2013), 51.2 million people had been forced from their homes worldwide. Half the world’s refugees are children, many travelling alone or in groups in a desperate quest for sanctuary, and often falling into the clutches of people traffickers.
Syria’s civil war alone has forced 9 million people to flee their homes, with nearly 3 million escaping abroad while more than 6.5 million have been displaced within Syria.
Last year, there were 16.7 million refugees worldwide; including 11.7 million cared for by U.N. agencies. More than half of the refugees under UNHCR’s care — 6.3 million — had been in exile for more than five years.
By country, the biggest populations of refugees were Afghans, Syrians and Somalis, the report said. 
Read the Global Trends 2013 report
Photo: A woman leans against a tree in the world’s biggest refugee complex on August 23, 2009 in Dadaab, Kenya. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Number of world’s displaced over 50 million for first time since second world war

For the first time since the World War II era, the number of people forced to flee their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency said on World Refugee Day. (June 20, 2014)

At the end of last year (2013), 51.2 million people had been forced from their homes worldwide. Half the world’s refugees are children, many travelling alone or in groups in a desperate quest for sanctuary, and often falling into the clutches of people traffickers.

Syria’s civil war alone has forced 9 million people to flee their homes, with nearly 3 million escaping abroad while more than 6.5 million have been displaced within Syria.

Last year, there were 16.7 million refugees worldwide; including 11.7 million cared for by U.N. agencies. More than half of the refugees under UNHCR’s care — 6.3 million — had been in exile for more than five years.

By country, the biggest populations of refugees were Afghans, Syrians and Somalis, the report said.

Read the Global Trends 2013 report

Photo: A woman leans against a tree in the world’s biggest refugee complex on August 23, 2009 in Dadaab, Kenya. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Fatma, a Syrian woman from the city of Idlib, begs with one of her two children in a wealthy district of Beirut. Wallid, a Syrian refugee from the city of Daraa, displays his hand while taking a break from shining shoes in a wealthy district of Beirut. A Syrian woman from the city of Damascus begs with her daughter in a wealthy district of Beirut. A Syrian boy waits for customers in a wealthy district of Beirut. A Syrian woman from Kafer Hend sells chewing gum in a wealthy district of Beirut. Mohammad, a Syrian boy from the city of Daraa, collects metal scrap to sell in a wealthy district of Beirut. A Syrian woman sells lottery tickets in a wealthy district of Beirut. Saad, a Syrian teen from the city of Raqqa, collects metal scrap to sell in a wealthy district of Beirut. A young Syrian girl sells lighters in a wealthy district of Beirut. A Syrian woman from Aleppo begs for money in a wealthy district of Beirut.

Beirut, Lebanon | November 16, 2013

As the war in neighbouring Syria drags on for a third year, Lebanon, a country of only 4 million people, is now home to the largest number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict. The situation is beginning to put huge social and political strains on Lebanon as there is currently no end in sight to the war in Syria.

According to the United Nations, almost two million Syrian refugees have been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing war. Of those, around half are believed to be children. Lebanese officials estimate there are 1.4 million Syrians in the country, including 800,000 registered refugees. While there is no official data on the number of children and adults working on the streets Lebanon, it is estimated that it could be anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000. In wealthy districts of Beirut children and adults are viewed on nearly every block begging, looking through trash or offering pedestrians a shoe shine. 

Photos by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1) Fatma, a Syrian woman from the city of Idlib, begs with one of her two children. 2) Wallid, a Syrian refugee from the city of Daraa, displays his hand while taking a break from shining shoes. 3) A Syrian woman from the city of Damascus begs with her daughter in a wealthy district of Beirut. 4) A Syrian boy waits for customers in a wealthy district of Beirut.5) A Syrian woman from Kafer Hend sells chewing gum. 6) Mohammad, a Syrian boy from the city of Daraa, collects metal scrap to sell. 7) A Syrian woman sells lottery tickets. 8) Saad, a Syrian teen from the city of Raqqa, collects metal scrap to sell. 9) A young Syrian girl sells lighters in a wealthy district of Beirut. 10) A Syrian woman from Aleppo begs for money.

A woman who recently arrived from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo pauses in a makeshift camp in the Bekaa Valley A Syrian child plays on a swing outside of his home in a makeshift refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley Syrian children are now living in a former prison being occupied by Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley A man who recently arrived from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo pauses in a makeshift camp in the Bekaa Valley A Syrian girl runs through a makeshift refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley A Syrian child rests in a makeshift refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley Members of a family who have recently arrived from the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo pause in a makeshift camp in the Bekaa Valley

Syrian Refugees in Majdal Anjar, Lebanon | November 11, 2013

"As the war in neighbouring Syria drags on for a third year, Lebanon, a country of only 4 million people, is now home to the largest number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict. The situation is beginning to put huge social and political strains on Lebanon as there is currently no end in sight to the war in Syria.”

Photos by Spencer Platt/Getty Images