More than 114 million people are currently forcibly displaced worldwide, a record number, the United Nations announced on Wednesday.
"The number of people displaced due to war, persecution, violence, and human rights violations worldwide probably exceeded 114 million at the end of September," the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.
In the first half of 2023, population displacements were mainly caused by conflicts in Ukraine, Sudan, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also by the continuing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and a combination of drought, flooding, and insecurity in Somalia.
More than half of all displaced people have been forced to cross a border, the agency said.
And just three nations - Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine - are home to almost a third of the world's displaced people.
- One in 73 people -
"The world's attention is currently, and rightly, focused on the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. But globally, far too many conflicts are proliferating or intensifying, destroying innocent lives and uprooting populations," said UNHCR head Filippo Grandi.
"The international community's inability to resolve conflicts or prevent new ones is causing displacement and misery. We must (...) work together to end conflict and enable refugees and other displaced people to return home or start their lives again," he wrote in a statement.
In its report compiling data for the first half of 2023, the UN agency estimates that there were 110 million displaced people in the world in mid-June, 1.6 million more than at the same time in 2022.
According to UNHCR, however, this figure rose again over the following three months to "probably exceed" 114 million by the end of September.
This estimate does not take into account the 1.4 million Palestinians displaced, according to the UN, within the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.
By the end of 2022, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide had risen to 108.4 million.
A UNHCR spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the 114 million figure was a record since the agency began collecting data in 1975.
More than one in every 73 people in the world is forcibly displaced, calculated the UNHCR.
- Iran and Turkey, main host countries -
By mid-2023, 35.8 million people had fled abroad and 57 million were internally displaced persons (IDPs). Millions more are asylum seekers or in need of international protection.
Low- and middle-income countries alone host 75% of refugees and others in need of international protection.
The countries hosting the most refugees are Iran and Turkey, with 3.4 million each; Germany and Colombia with 2.5 million each; and Pakistan with 2.1 million.
One in six people on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba and one in seven in Lebanon are refugees.
Almost half of Syria's population remained displaced in mid-2023: 6.7 million internally displaced and 6.7 million refugees abroad and asylum-seekers, most of them in Turkey.
Worldwide, 1.6 million new individual asylum applications were filed between January and June 2023, the highest number ever recorded in the first six months of a given year.
540,600 of these applications were made in the USA, 150,200 in Germany, and 87,100 in Spain.
Some 3.1 million people returned home between January and June, including 2.7 million displaced persons.