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Refugee Figures

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UNHCR was set up in 1951 to help the estimated 1 million people still uprooted after World War II to return home. Since then, we have helped find durable solutions for tens of millions of refugees and they remain our core constituency.

The latest figures available show that the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR in mid-2015 reached an estimated 15.1 million refugees, the highest level in 20 years.

A further 5.1 million registered refugees are looked after in some 60 camps in the Middle East by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was set up in 1949 to care for displaced Palestinians.

The refugees of concern to UNHCR are spread around the world, with the largest number in sub-Saharan Africa (4.1 million), followed by Asia and the Pacific (3.8 million), Europe (3.5 million), the Middle East and North Africa (3.0 million) and the Americas (753,000). They live in widely varying conditions, from well-established camps and collective centres to makeshift shelters or living in the open.

More than half of all refugees of concern to UNHCR live in urban areas. They all await one of three possible solutions: repatriation, local integration or resettlement.