The United Nations refugee agency reported Tuesday that nearly 69 million people were displaced last year.
Each of the last five years has set a record. This year’s number tops all of them.
The U.N. estimates that about 44,000 people become refugees every day. They are fleeing war, violence, and other attacks. Some have fled or been removed from their countries many times.
The top U.N. official for refugees, Filippo Grandi, said crises in South Sudan, Congo and Myanmar raised the number of refugees in 2017.
Grandi also said that some people believe rich countries are having a refugee crisis. He said that is not true. He said U.N. data show that 85 percent of refugees are from developing countries. Many of those areas are “desperately poor,” he said.
The country that has the highest number of refugees is Turkey. Most refugees there come from Syria.
The United States received the most new individual applications for asylum last year. Germany received the second-most.
Jan Egeland leads the Norwegian Refugee Council. He said countries are not working together to take responsibility for refugees. “Rich countries are building walls against families fleeing war, at the same time as less money is available for aid to people in conflict areas,” he said.
Egeland also urged countries to be more like Uganda, a country he described as “generous” toward refugees. It receives refugees and protects them, he said.
World Refugee Day is Wednesday, June 20.
I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.
The Associated Press reported this story. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
desperately - adv. very severe or strong
application - n. a formal and usually written request for something
generous - adj. freely giving or sharing money and other valuable things
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