No one chooses to be a refugee

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Yesterday marked World Refugee Day, a day to remember the strength and resilience of those forced to flee their homes. No one chooses to be a refugee. 

Did you know that:

  •   There are over 15 million refugees around the world, and an even greater number of those who are internally displaced.
  •   Over 8 million have been in refugee camps for over 10 years.
  •   Pakistan is host to the largest number of refugees in the world with 1.7 million refugees from Afghanistan.
  •   The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more people will probably be on the move in the next decade because of continued environmental degradation, war and conflict.
  •   On average, women and girls constitute 49 percent of displaced persons around the world.
  •   46 percent of refugees were children under the age of 18.
  •   Currently, Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world, holds over 400,000 refugees in a camp built to house only 90,000.
  •   Since April, over 100,000 people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have been displaced due to fighting.
  •   Worldwide, the number of refugees accepted for third country resettlement by all nations numbers about 120,000 for any given year.  This is less than ½ of a percent of all refugee waiting for an opportunity to live in a safe environment, work for living, educate their children, and have hope for their future.
  •   The United States resettles more refugees than the rest of the world combined.
  •   The president sets the cap on refugee resettlement in this country each year.  President Obama set this year’s cap at 76,000.
  •   World Relief, one of nine agencies contracted by the State Department to resettle refugees in our county, resettles approximately 9.5% of refugee admitted into the United States.
  •   With 29 offices across the country, World Relief has offices in Spokane, Tri-cites and Seattle making it the largest resettlement agency in our state.
  •   Spokane is authorized to resettle up to 600 refugees each year (2011 = 358, 2012 = estimates 400).

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