68.8 million people around the world have been forced from home, among them 25.4 million refugees. The number is on the rise, as the UN refugee agency UNHCR reports, but fewer refugees are arriving in Germany.
According to UNHCR, we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. The figures for the first half of 2018 show that nearly one person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.
The total number of refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers now stands at 68.8 million worldwide, 300,000 more than 6 months before, at the end of 2017.
The number of refugees has increased by 554,000 cases to 20.5 million. In addition, there are 5.4 million Palestinian refugees who fall under the UNRWA mandate. The number of internally displaced people has decreased slightly.
Situation in Germany
Fewer refugees are arriving in Germany: The number of asylum claims filed in the first half of 2018 dropped by 20 percent. A total of 81,800 asylum claims were made from January to June — around 450 per day. During the same period last year, an average of 555 claims per day were registered, and around 2130 per day the year before that.
"The refugee crisis is taking place in other countries such as Bangladesh or Lebanon," said Dominik Bartsch, UNHCR representative in Germany. Now that the situation has slowed down in Europe, the continent is obliged to find solutions on how to deal with the refugees who are here, Bartsch said.
Seven out of eight refugees had not sought refuge in Europe but in developing countries such as Bangladesh, Uganda or Pakistan. Bartsch insisted that Europe had to step up to its responsibilities.
Syrian refugees the largest group
Syria remains the top country of origin of refugees with 6.5 million Syrian refugees worldwide, followed by Afghanistan with 2.7 million and South Sudan with 2.5 million.
Germany currently hosts around 514,000 refugees from Syria, 116,700 from Afghanistan and very few from South Sudan, epd reports.