By Chris Huber
Abrar hears her parents and siblings reminisce about their good life back home in Syria, but at 3, all she knows is a life in limbo. She reflects the growing number of refugee children who have never lived in their homeland.
The war in Syria began in March 2011, before she was born, and shows no sign of stopping.
More than 65 million people around the world have been displaced from their homes due to conflict and insecurity, the most since World War II, according to UNHCR.
Most remain displaced within their home countries, but about 21.3 million people have fled to other countries as refugees. More than half of those deemed refugees are children.
Here’s a look at five countries that account for the most refugees today.
Syria – 4.8 million refugees
Almost 1.4 million Syrians fled the country in 2015, UNHCR says. That put the total number of refugees from the 5-year-long conflict to more than 4.8 million. Most of them settled in neighboring countries, including Turkey (2.7 million), Lebanon (1.05 million), Jordan (655,000), and Iraq (247,000). The vast majority of Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East.
Afghanistan – 2.6 million refugees
At least 2.6 million from Afghanistan are living as refugees. Pakistan hosts about 1.5 million of them, including some second- or third-generation Afghan refugees who have never lived in their home country. Increased violence in 2015 led to a new surge of asylum seekers. Approximately 20 percent of the migrants and refugees arriving to Europe by sea during 2015 were from Afghanistan.
Somalia – 980,000 refugees
The total number of registered Somali refugees sits at about 980,000, including 7,000 people who were newly displaced in 2015. Most have settled in Kenya, Ethiopia, or Yemen. Some have lived in massive refugee camps for years. Within Somalia, at least 1 million people are displaced because of insecurity.
South Sudan – 727,000 refugees
After multiple attempts to reach a peace accord between rival factions, an agreement stuck in August 2015. However, between January 1 and Dec. 31, violence and widespread food insecurity drove tens of thousands more people from their homes, including 156,000 who fled to other countries. As of June 27, more than 627,500 South Sudanese people, in all, had registered with UNHCR as refugees, primarily in neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
Sudan – 641,000 refugees
With conflict raging in its new neighbor to the south, South Sudan, the plight of thousands of refugees from Sudan largely flew under the radar in 2015. Tallying almost 641,000, Sudan is the country with the fourth-largest population of refugees. Conflict and instability in Sudan’s Darfur region continued to be a significant cause of displacement in 2015.
Photo: Abrar, 3, front, stands with her siblings Aya and Ammar, 13, and their father, Adnan, 60, amid laundry strung between tents in a settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Chris Huber