A member of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees hands an ID card to a Congolese woman who has registered as a refugee together with her family in Uganda. According to UNHCR's Global Trends Report, there are over 45 million displaced people all over the world. Photo by: Frederic Noy / UNHCR

Muna is a mother of five. She and her children left Syria after their home was destroyed amid the fighting in the conflict-torn country. Her husband stayed behind.

Hers is a story that is often told in many refugees camps around the world, which in 2012 reached 15.4 million, 728,500 of them from Syria.

The latest Global Trends Report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees released on June 19 for for World Refugee Day, also put the number of internally displaced people and asylum seekers in 2012 at 28.8 million and 937,000, respectively.

Altogether they represent a total of over 45 million people forced to leave their homes, the highest figure since 1994.

UNHCR notes the conflict in Syria was a “major” factor in the latest global displacement numbers, but the country was not the No. 1 producer of refugees around the world.

Afghanistan remains on top of the list — as it has for the past 32 years — with a total of 2.58 million refugees produced last year. Most of them, about 95 percent, are in Pakistan and Iran, not surprisingly the two top host countries for refugees in 2012.

Pakistan hosted more than 1.6 million refugees by the end of the year, the only country over one million, followed by Iran with 868,200. Rounding up the top ten are Germany, Kenya, Syria, Ethiopia, Chad, Jordan, China and Turkey, which replaced the United States at No. 10.

Almost all of the 564,900 refugees in Kenya are living in Dadaab, home to the four largest refugee camps in the world, while Nyaragusu camp in Tanzania, considered No. 5, hosted 68,100 refugees in 2012, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This year’s World Refugee Day focuses on the impact of war on families, and UNCHR is encouraging everyone to take just a minute of their time to support a family torn by such violence: Every 4.1 seconds a person was forced to leave their home in 2012 and thus became a new refugee, IDP or asylum seeker.

Read our previous DevTrivia.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

Join the Discussion