Pakistan hosts highest number of refugees: UN

Updated January 08, 2015

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An Afghan refugee family walks to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) headquarters in Islamabad. — Reuters/File
An Afghan refugee family walks to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) headquarters in Islamabad. — Reuters/File

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan, which hosts about 1.6 million Afghan refugees, is the biggest host country in absolute terms, a UN refugee agency report said on Wednesday.

Relative to the size of populations, Lebanon and Jordan host the largest number of refugees, while relative to the size of economy the burden carried by Ethiopia and Pakistan is greatest.

Also read: Number of Afghan refugees in country growing steadily

Other countries with large refugee populations are Lebanon (1.1m), Iran (982,000), Turkey (824,000), Jordan (737,000), Ethiopia (588,000), Kenya (537,000) and Chad (455,000).

The Mid-Year Trends 2014 report of the UNHCR is based on data from governments and the organisation’s worldwide offices. It does not show total forced displacement globally.

The figures are presented in June each year in the UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report, which as of end 2013 showed that 51.2m people had been displaced.

Know more: Not every Afghan living in Pakistan is a refugee, says UNHCR

The report warns that “war across large swathes of the Middle East and Africa in the first six months of 2014 forcibly displaced some 5.5m people, signalling yet another record.

The mid-term report shows that of the 5.5m who were newly displaced, 1.4m fled across international borders becoming refugees, while the rest were displaced within their own countries also known as IDPs or internally displaced persons.

The new data brings the number of people being helped by the UNHCR to 46.3m as of mid-2014 — some 3.4m more than at the end of 2013 and a new record high.

“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,” António Guterres, head of the UNHCR, said in a statement.

Published in Dawn January 8th , 2014

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