More than 100 million people around the world have had to flee their homes because of conflict, persecution, or human rights violations, according to a new report released by the UN, a record number that illustrates a worsening global refugee crisis.
The record follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, conflict in Syria and Sudan, and crises stemming from climate change across the globe.
According to the Global Trends Report from UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, the record-high numbers come after about 19 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022 alone. Of the 19 million, more than 11 million were those who fled Russia’ after its invasion of Ukraine, the fastest and largest displacement of people since World War II, according to the Associated Press.
In addition, the conflict in Sudan has displaced nearly two million people since April, the report said. Other conflicts in 2022 included those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Myanmar, which were also responsible for displacing more than a million people within each country last year.
UNHCR spokesperson Kathryn Mahoney told Axios that in addition to conflict, climate-fueled natural disasters are also increasingly pushing people to flee their homes.
“It’s clear that the climate crisis … is driving displacement,” Mahoney said, referencing Pakistan, which suffered deadly floods last year, and Somalia, which is experiencing a prolonged drought that has worsened a hunger crisis. “But it’s also making life a lot harder for people who have already been forced to flee.”
According to Mahoney, more than “70% of the world’s refugees and displaced people come from some of the most climate-vulnerable countries.”
“It’s quite an indictment on the state of our world,” said Filippo Grandi, who leads the refugee agency, ahead of the report’s publication Wednesday, according to the AP.
“We are constantly confronted with emergencies,” Grandi said, noting that the agency recorded 35 emergencies in 2022—three to four times more than in previous years. “Very few make your headlines,” Grandi told reporters. He referenced conflicts in Africa as those that rarely merit coverage.
According to Grandi, while Turkey hosts the most refugees across the globe, the vast majority of refugees migrate to low to middle-income countries in Asia and Africa, not those considered wealthy like countries in Europe or North America.
Several countries in Europe have been accused of providing unequal treatment to refugees, with many noting Ukrainian refugees being welcomed with open arms while people of color were turned away, Axios reported.
“We see pushbacks. We see tougher and tougher immigration or refugee admission rules. We see in many countries the criminalization of immigrants and refugees, blaming them for everything that has happened,” Grandi said.