60 Million People Fleeing Chaotic Lands, U.N. Says

In this Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, file photo, immigrants who arrived on a cargo ship from Turkey queue for meals in a basketball arena where they have been given temporary shelter in the town of Ierapetra, on the southern Greek island of Crete. European Union countries are immersed in a full-fledged migration crisis. With the EU lacking funds and resources, some officials are even floating the idea of a multinational border guard to deal with arrivals of hundreds of thousands from war-torn countries like Syria, poor African nations and non EU neighbors like Kosovo. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)
In this Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, file photo, immigrants who arrived on a cargo ship from Turkey queue for meals in a basketball arena where they have been given temporary shelter in the town of Ierapetra, on the southern Greek island of Crete. European Union countries are immersed in a full-fledged migration crisis. With the EU lacking funds and resources, some officials are even floating the idea of a multinational border guard to deal with arrivals of hundreds of thousands from war-torn countries like Syria, poor African nations and non EU neighbors like Kosovo. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)
In this Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, file photo, immigrants who arrived on a cargo ship from Turkey queue for meals in a basketball arena where they have been given temporary shelter in the town of Ierapetra, on the southern Greek island of Crete. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

UNITED NATIONS (New York Times) — Nearly 60 million people have been driven from their homes by war and persecution, an unprecedented global exodus that has burdened fragile countries with waves of newcomers and littered deserts and seas with the bodies of those who died trying to reach safety.

The new figures, released Thursday by the United Nations refugee agency, paint a staggering picture of a world where new conflicts are erupting and old ones are refusing to subside, driving up the total number of displaced people to a record 59.5 million by the end of 2014, the most recent year tallied.

Half of the displaced are children.

Nearly 14 million people were newly displaced in 2014, according to the annual report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In other words, tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes every day and “seek protection elsewhere” last year, the report found.

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