UN Report: Refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan Make Up Half the World's TotalBy VOA News
17 June 2008
An Afghan girl carries her infant sibling in Iran's Sistan Baluchistan province The U.N. refugee agency says the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are behind a rise in the number of refugees worldwide for the second year in a row.
A report released Tuesday says refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan made up nearly half of the 11.4 million refugees under the agency's care in the past year, followed by Colombians, Sudanese and Somalis. The agency differentiates between refugees, who flee to other countries, and internally displaced people, who stay within their country's borders.
The agency says Colombia had the most internally displaced people, estimated at nearly three million. Iraq had the second-highest number, with about 2.4 million.
The agency says the worldwide refugee total had fallen for five years straight before increasing in 2006 and again last year.