GENEVA, 21th June, 2016 (WAM) — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, has announced that that 65.3 million people were classified as displaced at the end of 2015, an increase of more than 5 million from 59.5 million a year earlier.

The number of people displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution last year exceeded 60 million for the first time in United Nations history.

“This is the first time that the threshold of 60 million has been crossed,” the UN refugee agency said, adding that the number of people displaced from their homes has increased due to conflict and persecution.

An uprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from homes, among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

Measured against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either a refugee, an asylum-seeker or internally displaced, putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.

On average, 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.

Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia produce half the world’s refugees, at 4.9 million, 2.7 million and 1.1 million, respectively.

WAM/Hanaa/Moran