WHO Health Emergencies | Displaced populations

Displaced populations

Displaced populations

World Refugee Day 2016World Refugee Day 2016As host to some of the world’s biggest emergencies and protracted crises, the Eastern Mediterranean Region carries the largest burden of displaced populations globally. Out of 58 million displaced persons worldwide, almost 30 million (52%) come from the Region.

Syria is currently the world’s biggest producer of refugees and internally displaced persons, with more than 40% of the population now displaced. Afghanistan and Somalia face two of the longest-spanning refugee situations, with Afghanis constituting the second-largest refugee group in the world after Syrians, and Somalia facing one of the world’s most complex refugee situations.

The Region is also witness to massive internal displacement. More than 4 million people in Iraq are now displaced inside the country. In Yemen, one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, more than 2.4 million people have relocated to safer areas to escape the violence.

Countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region have shown generous hospitality towards displaced populations. Lebanon, a country of four million people, is now the highest per capita host of refugees in the world, with refugees comprising almost a third of the total population. In Jordan, Syrians make up 10% of the population. Pakistan, a country with more than 1.5 million internally displaced persons, is also host to more than 1.5 million refugees from Afghanistan.

With the majority of refugees and internally displaced persons across the region living outside camp settings, both displaced populations and host communities are exposed to increased public health risks. These include infectious diseases due to overcrowded living conditions, limited access to safe water and sanitation, and varying degrees of access to primary health care services.

Regional facts and figures

In addition to more than 4.7 million Syrian refugees affected by the crisis, an additional 20 million people living in host communities in neighbouring countries are directly or indirectly affected by the refugee crisis and in need of aid, December 2015

Source: Refugee Resilience and Response Plan

Refugees and internally displaced persons in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: a health perspective