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Refugee crisis

Nicole Goebel, Loveday Wright
October 18, 2013

Around two million Syrians - 10 percent of the population - have fled their country. But they are far from alone in their lives in exile. DW looks at what the UNHCR has called the "great tragedy of this century."

Syrian refugees, who fled the violence in Syria, use containers to collect water at the Arbat refugee camp in the northern Iraqi province of Sulaimaniya August 28, 2013. Picture taken August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Yahya Ahmad (IRAQ - Tags: SOCIETY POVERTY CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT IMMIGRATION)
Image: Reuters

At the end of last year, UN figures estimated that there were 15.4 million refugees worldwide.

In the course of 2012, an average of 23,000 people a day were forced to leave their homes in search of safety, either in their own countries or across borders. Almost half of them were under 18 years old.

Current conflicts and disasters mean the number of refugees around the world is increasing. While the refugees struggle to survive, the resources of host countries are also being stretched to their limits in the attempt to cope with the influx.

There are hopes that the recent Lampedusa disaster, in which more than 300 East African migrants died, will spark a change in the EU’s migration and refugee policy, but the real burden lies outside of Europe. Over 80 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.

DW takes a look at the refugees’ plight.

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