According to the Global Trends report published by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) recently, 65.3 million in the world were displaced at the end of 2015. At the end of the year 2014 this was only 59.5 million. This is considered to be the first time in the organization’s history that the total number of displaced people has crossed 60 million. Of the total, 21.3 million persons were refugees, from which only 16.1 million under UNHCR mandate.  Among internally displaced persons are 40.8 million of this 3.7 million were globally stateless at the end of 2015.

Global trends
Global Trends state that 24 people on average were forced to flee each minute in 2015, compared to the six people who were forced to fly in 2005. According to the report, measured against the total global population of 7.4 people, one in every 113 people is either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or refugee. The main reasons for displacement identified in the report are war and persecution. Conflicts that cause large refugee outflows, new or reignited conflicts and situations of insecurity and the falling rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people are recognized by the UNHCR, as the main contributors to the growing numbers.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi stated that, “More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too. At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year; on land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders. Closing borders does not solve the problem. The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today, and it’s this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail.”

Half the world refugees are produced by Syria (4.9 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million) and Somalia (1.1) million. Colombia produces 6.9 million, Syria 6.6 million and Iraq 4.4 million, displays the largest numbers of internally displaced people. The majority of these refugees are in developing countries of the Southern hemisphere. Low and middle income countries located closer to conflicts carry 86 per cent of the refugees under UNHCR mandate.

Turkey is the biggest host country with a 2.5 million refugees. Lebanon has hosted more refugees than any other country; the ratio comes up to nearly one refugee for every five citizens. In 2015, 51 per cent of the world’s refugees are children. Most of these children are separated from their parents and are travelling alone.
Sri Lankan numbers

According to the historical review of 51 major source countries of refugees, Sri Lanka has ranked within the top 20 countries for 16 times, from 1990 to 2015. This rank is between 1 to 20. This has occurred between 1990 and 1991 and then again in 1997, 2000 and 2001. From 2005 to 2015 Sri Lanka has continuously been a major source country for refugees.

At the end of 2015, Sri Lanka has a total of 784 refugees; all of them are assisted by the UNHCR. Of these, there are 608 asylum- seekers. Returned refugees number 852, 8,112 of these have returned to their original territory. None of them are considered stateless under the UNHCR mandate. Total population of concern includes some 55,290. These statistics are by country/territory of asylum and are still being reviewed by the central authorities and may not include those who are displaced by the recent floods as well as Salawa explosions, since only 2015 numbers are included in the report.

According to the latest Global Trends report Sri Lanka has 121,435 refugees, of 2,169 are UNHCR assisted. There are 14,869 asylum- seekers, 852 returned refugees, 44,943 internally displaced persons, 8,112 returned internally displaced persons and 17 others who are of interest to UNHCR under humanitarian or other special grounds. In total there are 190,219 population of concern by Sri Lankan origin.

A major burden resulting from the refugee problem is healthcare, with refugee
populations susceptible to pneumonia and diarrhoea. It also entails huge vaccine costs. But often the surgical component of the healthcare aspect all but neglected.

According to the newest analysis, nearly 60 million refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum-seekers in the world required nearly three million surgeries in 2014. Over one third of these procedures were performed on forcibly displaced people in North Africa and the Middle East, further burdening an already strained healthcare system.

“It doesn’t include just simple suturing or simple burn care or splinting of fractures, which doesn’t need a formal operation,” said Dr. Adam Kushner, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. In fact, seven per cent of all procedures were obstetric surgeries.

Emergency general surgeries are the most common requirements, that include
surgeries for hernia, chronic bone inflammation and growths on the uterus.

Internally displaced people require the largest number of surgeries: an estimated 1.78 million worth of procedures. They were followed by refugees, who require an estimated 910,000 surgeries. Asylum- seekers were estimated to require 84,000 surgeries. According to Kushner, understanding the surgical needs of forcibly displaced people can help inform planning, resource allocation and improvements in healthcare systems.

Trends at a Glance 2015 in Review

Global forced displacement has increased in 2015, with record-high numbers. By the end of the year, 65.3 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations.This is 5.8 million more than the previous year (59.5 million).

21.3 million persons were refugees
16.1 million under UNHCR’s mandate
5.2 million Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA

40.8 million internally displaced persons

3.2 million asylum-seekers

On average 24 people worldwide were displaced from their homes every minute of
every day during 2015 – some
34,000 people per day. This
compares to 30 per minute in
2014 and 6 per minute in 2005.

Top hosts
1. Turkey (2.5 million)
2. Pakistan (1.6 million)
3. Lebanon (1.1 million)
4. Islamic Rep. of Iran (979,400)
5. Ethiopia (736,100)
6. Jordan (664,100)

86 per cent
Developing regions hosted 86 percent of the world’s refugees under UNHCR’s mandate. At 13.9 million people, this was the highest figure in more than two decades.
The Least Developed Countries provided asylum to 4.2 million refugees or about 26 per cent of the global total