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UN refugee agency: Record 68.5 million displaced in 2017

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency says nearly 69 million people who have fled war, violence and persecution were forcibly displaced last year, a new record for the fifth straight year.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday continued crises in places like South Sudan and Congo, as well as the exodus of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar that started last year, raised the overall figure of forced displacement in 2017 to 68.5 million.

Of that total, 16.2 million were newly displaced last year — an average of more than 44,000 people per day.

UNHCR said the figures debunk a flawed perception among some that a refugee crisis has affected more developed countries in the “Global North.” It said 85 percent of refugees are in developing countries, many of them “desperately poor.”

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