The UN refugee agency says that Syrians have become the second largest refugee population in the world after the Palestinians, overtaking Afghans, who had held that place for more than three decades.
According to a report about the situation on mid year 2014, there were more than 3 million Syrian refugees in June which represents the 23 percent of all refugees being helped by UNHCR worldwide. The number of Afghan refugees was 2.7 million. (The Palestinians, more than 5 million, are under the UNRWA care).
After Syria and Afghanistan, the leading countries of origin of refugees are Somalia (1.1 million), Sudan (670,000), South Sudan (509,000), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (493,000), Myanmar (480,000) and Iraq (426,000).
Another major finding in the report “is the shift in the regional distribution of refugee populations. Until last year, the region hosting the largest refugee population was Asia and the Pacific. As a result of the crisis in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa have now become the regions hosting the largest number of refugees.”
According to a news release, UNHCR considers that, putting the data into context, relative to the size of the countries, Lebanon and Jordan host the largest number of refugees, while relative to the sizes of their economies the burdens carried by Ethiopia and Pakistan are greatest.
“In 2014 we have seen the number of people under our care grow to unprecedented levels. As long as the international community continues to fail to find political solutions to existing conflicts and to prevent new ones from starting, we will continue to have to deal with the dramatic humanitarian consequences,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
“The economic, social and human cost of caring for refugees and the internally displaced is being borne mostly by poor communities, those who are least able to afford it. Enhanced international solidarity is a must if we want to avoid the risk of more and more vulnerable people being left without proper support, ” he said.