• UN refugee agency calls response to record level of displacement

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    GENEVA:  UN High Commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres on Monday said the world is facing the highest levels of forced displacement in recorded history and the UN refugee agency and other agencies should join hands to respond to and meet all the humanitarian needs.

    Speaking to the Executive Committee of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Guterres said that “the world has become more fragile as conflicts spreading in unpredictable ways and the nature of conflict becoming highly complex.”

    He noted that the number of people globally displaced by conflict every single day has nearly quadrupled in the past five years, from almost 11,000 in 2010 to 42,500 last year.

    “Fifteen new conflicts have broken out or flared up again in the last five years, without any of the old ones getting resolved, ” he said.

    The latest UNHCR figure shows that there are now more than 60 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons in the world, and the number is still rising, compared with 38 million 10 years ago.

    According to the UN official, in the last 12 months, Yemen has witnessed 1.1 million displaced people and refugees, and an additional half a million people fled from their homes in South Sudan.

    In Libya, Guterrers said, a further 300,000 are now displaced within the country, and tens of thousands flee gang violence in Central America, while 94,000 have crossed the Bay of Bengal in search of protection.

    “After the dramatic events on the beaches and borders of Europe this summer, nobody is now able to ignore a refugee crisis that had been simmering for so long while others weren’t watching,” he noted.

    According to him, over half a million have already arrived in Europe this year, with Greece alone having received over 400,000 arrivals this year, more than nine times the figure of 2014. PNA/Xinhua

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