Refugee crisis mapped: Top 10 origin countries of people displaced across borders

Ian Blackford slams Dominic Raab during Afghanistan debate

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The UK Government yesterday promised to resettle up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over five years after the Taliban army seized control of Kabul, the country’s capital, on Sunday. Women, children and religious minorities will be prioritised in the first year of the UK settlement scheme. Ahead of a recall of parliament, prime minister Boris Johnson said the UK owed “a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years.”

He added: “Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help.

“I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK.

“The best solution for everyone is an Afghanistan that works for all Afghans.”

Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is likely to be a defining factor in refugee movements in the future with the UN refugee agency saying on Friday that it was alarmed by the country’s unfolding humanitarian crisis and urged neighbouring countries not to close their borders.

Read More: Tony Blair called out for ‘deafening silence’ on Afghanistan crisis

This concern is on top of the already increased strain on refugees by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a UN report, the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 82 million at the end of 2020 – the highest figure the organisation has seen since its inception 70 years ago. 

Furthermore, in late 2020, two thirds of all refugees and displaced people originated from just five countries, with Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan claiming the most.

There are more than 6.7 million Syrian refugees displaced outside of their home country according to the report, due to the country’s civil war which started in 2011.

Indeed, their refugees have an enormous global footprint, having been hosted by 127 countries with Turkey (3.6 million), Lebanon (884,000) and Jordan (658,000) the most significant host nations. 

Venezuela had just over four million refugees at the end of 2020, with the country ravaged by the bitter power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and his opposition.

Moreover the South American country has been further affected by skyrocketing hyper inflation, power cuts and food and medicine shortages.

The latest count in late 2020 on the total of displaced Afghans was 2.6 million people, the third highest in the world with 85 percent of Afghan refugees displaced hosted in Pakistan and Iran. 

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Moreover, the South Sudanese civil war, which ended in 2020, meant that the nation had 2.1 million refugees, whilst there are 1.1 million people from Myanmar that have been forced to flee their home country.

The ten countries with the most refugees accounted for more than 80 percent of the global total.

The origin country with the fourth most displaced people was the Democratic Republic of Congo with 840,000 refugees, then Somalia, who claim 815,000 refugees, and Sudan with 788,000.

The top ten is completed by the Central African Republic who have 642,000 refugees and Eritrea with 522,000. 

The EU’s two biggest economies, France and Germany, have spoken of the potential influx into the bloc due to the Afghanistan crisis.

French president Emmanuel Macron said on Monday evening “we must anticipate and protect ourselves against major irregular migratory flows” while vowing to work towards a “robust, coordinated and united response” with other European countries.

Germany’s Armin Laschet, who is head of the Christian Democratic Union and likely to take over the party from Chancellor Angela Merkel, said: “2015 should not be repeated.”

The refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016 due to the Syrian conflict saw over 1.2 million people apply for asylum in the EU, according to the region’s statistics office.

Canada announced that they would take in up to 20,000 refugees, including female leaders, government workers, and others at threat from the Taliban.

Elsewhere, US president Joe Biden has authorised up to $500million (£363million) from an emergency fund to meet “unexpected urgent” refugee needs stemming from his country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

President Biden has faced widespread criticism for his disastrous US-led withdrawal from the country.

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