Devastating conflicts, violence and persecution in places like Syria and South Sudan led to a record high of 65.6 million people uprooted from their homes at the end of 2016, the UN said Monday.
The number was 300,000 higher than the end of 2015 and more than 6 million higher than the end of 2014, according to a report published by the UN refugee agency.
At the end of 2016, there were some 40.3 million internally displaced people in the world, down slightly from 40.8 million a year earlier, with Syria, Iraq and Colombia accounting for the greatest numbers.
Another 22.5 million people -- half of them children -- were registered as refugees last year, the UNHCR report showed, highlighting that this was “the highest level ever recorded.”
Syria’s six-year conflict alone has led to more than 5.5 million people seeking safety in other countries, including 825,000 last year, making it the world’s biggest source of refugees.