Highest number of children displaced since the Second World War following rise in number of refugees

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By the close of 2021, UNICEF estimates that 36.5 million children were displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence and other crises.

These statistics have not been as high since the second world war. Amongst this almost 37 million, 13.7 million are refugee and asylum-seeking children. Conflict and violence has also led to the internal displacement of 2.8 million children. 

More children have also been displaced due to climate and environmental disasters, and these figures do not account for the displacement caused by the war in Ukraine since 2022.

Ongoing crisis and conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo or Yemen explicitly contributes to this record number of displaced children. 2.2 million more children were displaced last year than the previous year.

As the numbers of displaced children grows, so does our responsibility, states UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “I hope this alarming number will move government to prevent children from being displaced in the first place – and when they are displaced, to ensure their access to education, protection, and other critical services that support their wellbeing and development now and in the future.”

Extreme weather conditions and events such as drought in the Horn of Africa and severe flooding in Bangladesh have also driven children and families from their homes. 2021 saw 7.3 millions new displacements of children owing to natural disasters.

Accessing essential support and services such as healthcare, education and protection is becoming more difficult as the number of refugee children reaches record highs. Currently, only one third of refugee adolescents are attending secondary school.

UNICEF appeals to Member states to uphold their commitment to ensure the rights of displaced children are respected. Further data and research is being carried out by the Global Compact for Migration into the true scale of refugee, migrant and displaced children.


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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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