News in the Humanosphere: New data on displacement from the UN refugee agency

(credit: Teseum/flickr)

The new Global Trends report is out and it paints a damning picture: worldwide displacement is at the highest level ever recorded by the UN Refugee Agency. “UNHCR’s new annual Global Trends report shows a sharp escalation in the number of people forced to flee their homes, with 59.5 million people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago. The increase since 2013 was the highest ever seen in a single year.  The main acceleration has been since early 2011 when war erupted in Syria, propelling it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement. In 2014, an average of 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced every day, representing a four-fold increase in just four years. Worldwide, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.” (

The needs are increasing. The funding is Flat…”The United Nations’ annual appeal for humanitarian aid has risen 500% in 10 years due to the “new norm” of multiple humanitarian crises. Only 26% of the money needed has been committed, according to a report published last night. (Guardian

Stat of the day: The world’s steady shift away from peace and into conflict inflicted a $14.3 trillion cost on the global economy last year, as nations ramped up military spending and more people were driven from their jobs, according to the latest Global Peace Index. (Guardian

Quote of the day: “I invite all of you to ask forgiveness for those who close the door on these people who are looking for life, for a family, and to be cared for.” – Pope Francis joining the migration discussion. (AP


A large sack of home-made bombs discovered at an abandoned Boko Haram camp exploded, killing 63 people, witnesses said Wednesday of a toll many times higher than in any recent attack in northeast Nigeria. (AP

The United States plans to provide $5 million to help support a regional military force fighting Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, a state department official said. (Reuters

The United Nations denied a media report that Sudanese troops held South African peacekeepers in Darfur hostage so Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir could leave South Africa and avoid being arrested to face genocide charges. (Reuters

Despite stigmatisation that she has been greeted with by members of her local community, a 16-year-old victim of Boko Haram, impregnated by the insurgents, has said she would keep the pregnancy because her unborn baby deserves to live. (Leadership

It’s a scandal that any family in a continent as rich as Africa, with its vast oil and mineral wealth, should be so poor they feel forced to sell their daughter, the African Union’s goodwill ambassador on child marriage said. (TRF


Oxfam wants to double to three million the number of people it can reach inside Syria with water and hygiene projects, the head of Oxfam’s British office said after meetings with officials in Damascus. (Reuters

Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that authorities from the internationally recognized government in Libya are responsible for forcing confessions, not providing medical care and denying due process to detainees. (VOA

The United Arab Emirates is paying tens of millions of dollars to support Palestinian war victims in Gaza, but the aid is also giving a boost to an exiled Fatah leader of the impoverished enclave. (AP


Myanmar’s government is using threats, harassment and imprisonment to intimidate the media ahead of national elections later this year, Amnesty International said Wednesday. (AP

Two migrants said they witnessed an Australian official hand cash to the crew of a people-smuggling boat to take its passengers back to Indonesia. (AP

The World Health Organization says the spread of MERS from the Middle East to South Korea doesn’t merit being formally being declared a global emergency despite infecting more than 160 people in the biggest outbreak outside the Arabian peninsula.  (AP

Asia has made huge strides in developing clean energy over the last decade but must boost investment and its use of energy efficiency technology to meet rising demand and cope with climate change, Asian Development Bank officials and other experts said Wednesday. (AP

Decades of weak investment under junta rule in Myanmar means the vast majority of people — eight in 10 — are forced to drink from unsafe supplies such as wells, boreholes, springs and streams while only nine percent have access to tap or piped water. (AFP

The Americas

Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has lost  26 pounds on a partial hunger-strike now in its fourth week, his family said, while students around the country escalate similar protests in solidarity. (AP

Tropical Depression Bill drenched large parts of Texas on Wednesday, turning streets into lakes, raising flood worries and killing at least one person in the state where severe weather killed about 30 people last month. (Reuters

...and the rest

EU border agency Frontex on Wednesday launched its first so-called “hotspot” in Sicily designed to bring together European and international actors to help Italy tackle the Mediterranean migrant crisis. (AP

France will create 11,000 more places in centers for asylum seekers and housing for refugees as part of a plan to help deal with the flow of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, the country’s interior minister said Wednesday. (AP

After an extensive review of United Nations peacekeeping operations, an independent panel is recommending significant changes to help the world body adapt to the rapidly evolving challenges it faces in the globe’s trouble spots.  This is the first major peacekeeping assessment in 15 years. (VOA

Hungary said Wednesday it was building a barrier on its border with Serbia to keep out migrants, as the EU struggles to deal with the massive flow of people trying to reach Europe. (AFP

Banks in Switzerland have reported 53 possible acts of money-laundering in the investigation of FIFA’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, the country’s attorney-general said Wednesday. (AP


The ICC, Bashir and South Africa. Things Got Weird. (Global Dispatches Podcast

Infographic of the Day: Humanitarian Relief;s Scary Funding Gap. (UN Dispatch

The Plunder of Africa (Foreign Affairs

How is our understanding of development changing? (Guardian

What the Philippines Can Learn from Morocco, Peru and Ethiopia (Inter Press Service

How fossil fuel emissions could take protein from the diets of the world’s poorest people  (Guardian

Bashir Vs ICC – Where Is the African Justice? (The New Times

Could Peacekeeping Wives Deter Sexual Abuse in U.N. Overseas Operations? (Inter Press Service

Inadequate Education Continues to Undermine Youth (ISS

Baku 2015: why is Unicef supporting Azerbaijan’s European Games? (Guardian

Developing Countries Face Tough Transition in 2015 (The Chronicle

Cash Transfers – Indebted to Donors (Africa Research Institute

Why border controls are now a global game (IRIN

What’s Next for China’s Anti-Corruption Drive? (VOA

Cities Will Be Decisive in Fight for Sustainable Development (Inter Press Service


About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]