Worldwide food insecurity, climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and other emergencies from Africa to Afghanistan, forced around 100 million people to flee their homes, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said Thursday.
Today, one in every 78 people on earth is displaced; it is a "dramatic milestone" that few would have expected a decade ago, the agency added.
By the end of 2021, the number displaced by war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses stood at 89.3 million, according to the UNHCR's annual Global Trends report.
That was up eight percent from 2020 and "well over double the figure of 10 years ago," the report's authors said, attributing last year's increase to numerous escalating conflicts "and new ones that flared."
"Every year of the last decade, the numbers climbed," said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi. "Either the international community comes together to take action to address this human tragedy, resolve conflicts and find lasting solutions, or this terrible trend will continue."
The 100 million displaced figure was reached in May, 10 weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted a global cereal and fertiliser shortage from these major exporters.
In all, 23 countries with a combined population of 850 million faced "medium or high-intensity conflicts," the UN agency said, citing World Bank data.
Among the 89.3 million globally displaced last year, 27.1 million were refugees – 21.3 million under the UNHCR's mandate, and 5.8 million Palestinians under the care of the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA.
Another 53.2 million were internally displaced people, 4.6 million asylum seekers, and 4.4 million Venezuelans left with little option but to flee their country's economic and political crisis.
Data from the UNHCR report underscored the crucial role played by the world's developing nations in sheltering displaced people, with low and middle-income nations hosting more than four in five of the world's refugees.
With 3.8 million refugees within its borders, Türkiye hosts the largest number of refugees, followed by Colombia, with 1.8 million (including Venezuelan nationals), Uganda and Pakistan (1.5 million each) and Germany (1.3 million).