84M people displaced worldwide: UN

The United Nations said on Thursday that more than 84 million people were forced to abandon their homes in the first half of this year. 

The displacement was largely driven by people escaping the effects of climate change and fleeing from violence, especially in Africa, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported.

“The international community is failing to prevent violence, persecution and human rights violations, which continue to drive people from their homes,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, said in his agency’s statement. “In addition, the effects of climate change are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in many areas hosting the forcibly displaced.”

The agency on Thursday released its midyear trend report, which accounted for January to June 2021. This year’s figures marked an increase from 82.4 million displaced people at the end of 2020. 

The report also noted that COVID-19 travel restrictions and border policies limited access for many people to seek asylum, adding that these issues combined with other problems like food insecurity and the pandemic created a “lethal mix.” 

Internal displacement, especially in Africa, accounted for 51 million people in the report, many of whom were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. 

The number of refugees also increased to almost 21 million, a jump from 172,000 at the end of last year, according to The Associated Press.

The UNHCR also said that most of the people who had been displaced from their homes were now hosted by developing regions. 

“It is the communities and countries with the fewest resources that continue to shoulder the greatest burden in protecting and caring for the forcibly displaced, and they must be better supported by the rest of the international community,” Grandi also said in the statement.

The UNHCR also noted that many people were also displaced as a result of violence in Myanmar, which experienced a military coup in February, and Afghanistan, where the Taliban took control after foreign forces began withdrawing earlier this year. 


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