Number of refugees worldwide doubled in past decade – UN

Friday June 19, 2020

The DRC, Burkina Faso and wider Sahel region are Africa’s hotspots.

A refugee carries her possessions after being evicted from a sit-in protest against xenophobia outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offices in Cape Town, in October 2019. Mike Hutchings, Reuters

Nearly 80 million people, half of them children, were displaced from their homes at the end of 2019, forced out by conflict, food insecurity and economic upheaval. That’s nearly twice as many as a decade ago, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, released to coincide with World Refugee Day.

Hotspots in Africa include, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and the wider Sahel region.

Clementine Nkweta-Salami, director of the UNHCR’s regional bureau in East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said cases in Africa have nearly tripled in the same period, going from 2.2 million to 6.3 million.

Nkweta-Salami also voiced concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on refugee camps, saying “preparedness” for such scenarios will be key.

The UN’s refugee agency and the government of Kenya have ramped up their health response in the Dadaab refugee camp, located in eastern Kenya close to Somalia. It is currently home to more than 217,000 refugees and ooor sanitation and overcrowding are major concerns.

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