"The numbers are astounding. 37,000 displaced people are camping in an area of just five hectares reports Maurice Azonnankpo, a UNHCR protection officer in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic."
More than 5.9 million people became internally displaced or refugees during the first six months of 2013, says the United Nations refugee agency. UNHCR expects 2013's total to exceed the 7.6 million refugees recorded in 2012. Syrians account for 80% of this year's refugees, UNHCR says.
The number of Syrian refugees increased by 1 million people in six months, with the total at or exceeding 2 million, says the United Nations refugee agency. The refugee rate and the 4.5 million internally displaced in Syria means one-third of the country's population is affected by the civil war, says UNHCR head Antonio Guterres. "It clearly demonstrates that we are witnessing a conflict in constant escalation," he says.
More than 400,000 people could flee the violence in Mali for neighboring countries, in addition to an estimated 300,000 internally displaced, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Separately, Malian government troops backed by France retook the town of Diabaly today.
The number of displaced people worldwide is expected to increase in the coming decade not only because of conflict, but as a result of overpopulation, food shortages and natural disasters brought on by climate change, according to a report published Thursday by the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Last year marked the highest numbers of refugees in more than a decade.
Protracted conflicts around the world have helped create 43 million refugees, with 2009 posting the lowest number of returnees ever recorded, UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres warned. Governments need to work together to provide increased protection for refugees, and assistance for countries hosting large displaced populations and advance efforts to resettle refugees in other countries are needed, Guterres said.