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Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have displaced over 50 million people, about half of them children, according to a U.N. report released earlier today. War and sectarian violence are the biggest culprits for this surge in global refugees. The last time the world saw this many displaced was during the immediate aftermath of World War II. Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports that over half the world’s refugees hail from Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia.
What’s the Big Idea?
What’s most concerning is these figures released today don’t include the newly displaced (or re-displaced) Iraqis who have recently fled their homes in the face of an ISIS rampage through the country.
From The Post article:
“We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in the report.
While it’s important to consider preventative matters for the future, the multi-billion dollar question on everyone’s mind is “what can we do about the current crisis?” While Lebanon, Pakistan, and Iran hosting more refugees than any other country, one wonders what responsibilities the Western world have to those displaced in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At this point, the only hope for millions of these people is an unlikely diplomatic solution:
“Peace is today dangerously in deficit,” Guterres said in the report. “Humanitarians can help as a palliative, but political solutions are vitally needed. Without this, the alarming levels of conflict and the mass suffering that is reflected in these figures will continue.”
Read more at The Washington Post
Photo credit: MAJDAL ANJAR, LEBANON – NOVEMBER 12: A displaced Syrian child is viewed in a makeshift camp for Syrian refugees only miles from the border with Syria in the Bekaa Valley on November 12, 2013 in Majdal Anjar, Lebanon. As the war in neighboring Syria drags on for a third year, Lebanon, a country of only 4 million people, is now home to the largest number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict. The situation is beginning to put huge social and political strains on Lebanon as there is currently no end in sight to the war in Syria. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)