The United Nations' refugee agency said Thursday that 100 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes in the past year.  This is the highest number of displaced people recorded since World War II.

The body says in its Global Trends Report that Ukraine had the largest and fastest-growing refugee crisis since the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was established in 1951. 

The crisis in Afghanistan reportedly was also one of the major events that contributed to the “dramatic milestone” of 100 million.  The report said there had been an upward trend every year in the last decade.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said this trend would continue, until the international community took steps to resolve conflicts and find solutions. 

Last year was notable for the number of conflicts that escalated and new ones that flared; 23 countries, with a combined population of 850 million, faced medium- or high-intensity conflicts, according to the World Bank.

Meanwhile, food scarcity, inflation and the climate crisis are adding to people’s hardship, stretching the humanitarian response just as the funding outlook in many situations appears bleak.

The number of refugees reportedly rose in 2021 to 27.1 million.  Arrivals climbed in Uganda, Chad and Sudan among others.  Most refugees were, once again, hosted by neighboring countries with few resources. The number of asylum seekers reached 4.6 million, up 11 per cent, according to the report.

Last year also saw the 15th straight annual rise in people displaced within their countries by conflict, to 53.2 million.  

The speed and volume of displacement is still outpacing the availability of solutions for those displaced – like return, resettlement or local integration. Yet the Global Trends report also contained glimmers of hope. The number of refugee and IDP returns increased in 2021, returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, with voluntary repatriation having surged 71 per cent, though numbers remained modest.

UNHCR 2021 Global Trends Report notes that by May 2022, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide by persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order.