Conflict, violence and other crises left a record 36.5 million children displaced from their homes at the end of 2021, the highest number recorded since World War 2.
Ahead of World Refugee Day, Unicef has urged governments to strengthen protection and access to services for refugee, migrant and displaced children.
The record number of children displaced is a direct result of cascading crises – including acute and protracted conflicts such as in Afghanistan, fragility in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Yemen and linked shocks exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. During the previous year, the global number of displaced children increased by 2.2 million, added the release.
“We can’t ignore the evidence: The number of children being displaced by conflict and crises is rapidly growing – and so is our responsibility to reach them,” said Unicef Executive Director Catherine Russell.
“I hope this alarming number will move governments 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,” said Russell.
Additionally, children and families are also being driven from their homes by extreme weather events, such as by drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, and severe flooding in Bangladesh, India and South Africa.
There were 7.3 million new displacements of children as a consequence of natural disasters in 2021.
Children also account for approximately 34 percent of detected trafficking victims globally, read the release.