Being forced from your home and having to leave behind many if not all of your possessions is a frightening thought, and it’s something you no doubt wish you never have to do. Unfortunately though, this is the brutal reality for many people around the world. As a result of conflict, natural disaster and poverty, millions of vulnerable men, women and children across the globe have fled their homes.
To give you a clearer idea of what these people face and how many are affected, here are three facts about refugees you may not know.
1. Over 60 million people displaced
According to figures provided by the UN Refugee Agency, at the end of 2016, 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced. This is more than the population of the entire UK, and it is the highest figure ever recorded for refugee numbers. It was approximately 300,000 up on the previous year. Two-thirds of these people were displaced within their own countries while the rest had been forced to flee further afield. Syria is the biggest producer of refugees in the world, ahead of Afghanistan and South Sudan.
2. Most refugees live outside Europe
Although many people don’t realise it, the majority of refugees live outside Europe, with approximately a third of these people fleeing to the world’s least developed countries. More than four-fifths of these people live in low and middle-income nations.
Chief executive of aid and development organisation Human Appeal UK Othman Moqbel points out that Turkey alone is hosting more refugees from Syria than all of the countries in Europe combined, while a fifth of the people living in Lebanon are refugees and Jordan spends a quarter of its national budget on refugees.
3. Children are worst hit
Children are disproportionally affected by this problem. Although only a third of the world’s population are children, half of refugees are youngsters. Tragically, some of them are without parents. In 2016, more than 70,000 separated or unaccompanied children applied for asylum, but the number of displaced children who are on their own is believed to be even higher.
What can you do?
Seeing statistics like these, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the problem. However, there are steps you can take to help those in need. Charities such as Human Appeal are providing vital support to refugees across the world and by donating to them, you can help to fund life-saving projects. You can also volunteer your time to help these organisations. Many charities, including Human Appeal, provide details on their websites of how you can get involved.