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World Refugee Day 2013: 'Needs of these people are overwhelming'
Thursday, June 20th, 2013

The United Nations marks World Refugee Day on Thursday.

"In all the years I have worked on behalf of refugees, this is the most worrying I have ever witnessed," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, speaking in Jordan Thursday. "The needs of these people are overwhelming; their anguish is unbearable."

The world's refugee population is on the incline, with a staggering 45.2 million people displaced from their homes.

While the brutal civil war in Syria continues to displace thousands of refugees at an alarming rate, other countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan continue to deal with internally or externally displaced people.

A UN report released Wednesday showed that 7.6 million people were displaced in 2012 alone, with around 20,000 being displaced every day.

Perhaps the most disturbing development in 2012 was the highest number of asylum applications for unaccompanied children on UNHCR's record. The refugee agency counted 21,300 applications for children who were unaccompanied or separated from their parents in 2012.

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Hmong refugees (who left Vietnam decades ago) pray as they participate in a ceremony to honor the Queen of Thailand on her birthday August 12, 2004 at Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Tham Krabok, Thailand.

(Paula Bronstein - AFP/Getty Images)
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Refugees originally from the western Iraqi desert region sit in their tent home several kilometers from the southern holy city of Karbala, some 110 kms from Baghdad on April 27, 2009.

(MOHAMMED SAWAF - AFP/Getty Images)
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This file picture taken on October 16, 2011, shows Somali boys fetching water from a puddle that formed after rain at the IFO-2 complex in the sprawling Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya.

(TONY KARUMBA - AFP/Getty Images)
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An Afghan girl sits with her mother at The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registration center on the outskirts of Peshawar on June 19, 2012, as they prepare to return to their home country after fleeing civil war and Taliban rule. About 20 percent of the population in Afghanistan are refugees.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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A displaced Congolese child sits on the ground in the village of Kibati on the outskirts of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's restive North Kivu province on July 25, 2012.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Kamee Yang, age 88, (L) consoles her sister MaoLee, age 80 as she says goodbye to her for the last time as Kamee gets ready to leave for the United States on August 22, 2004 at Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Tham Krabok, Thailand. Thousands of Hmong refugees who fled Laos for Thailand 30 years ago prepared for a new life in America.

(Paula Bronstein - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Colombian family has lunch at a refugee camp set up in a park in Bogota, July 18, 2006. Around 2.5 million people were displaced in Colombia as a result of the internal armed conflict.

(ALEJANDRA VEGA - AFP/Getty Images)
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Refugee Abshiro Isakbul sits by her sick son at the Transit Centre in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia, on December 15, 2011. Over 300,000 refugees fled severe drought, conflict and famine in southern Somalia in 2011 into Ethiopia and Kenya, according to the United Nations.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Sudanese refugee children stand near their tents in a muddy field July 15, 2012 in Jamam refugee camp, South Sudan.

(Paula Bronstein - AFP/Getty Images)
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An elderly Afghan woman sits near a tent at a camp where she and other members of she family have sought refuge in the Jawzjan region in the Faizabad District of northern Afghanistan on September 30, 2012.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Congolese girl carries a box of food aid at the Mugunga III camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on December 2, 2012.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Myanmar refugees look at a Thai army helicopter landing in the early morning, two days after a fire at the Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son province on March 24, 2013.

(NICOLAS ASFOURI - AFP/Getty Images)
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Internally displaced Syrian youths hold empty pots as they line up for food distribution in the Maiber al-Salam refugee camp along the Turkish border in the northern province of Aleppo on April 17, 2013. UN agencies helping to care for the millions driven from their homes in Syria by two years of conflict warned that they face "impossible" choices as funding fails to meet soaring needs.

(DIMITAR DILKOFF - AFP/Getty Images)
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Refugees sit in a straw hut at the Yida refugee camp in south Sudan on August 24, 2012 to learn about sanitation and hand washing.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Myanmar refugee boys walk at their destroyed camp at the Mae Surin camp in Mae Hong Son province on March 24, 2013.

(NICOLAS ASFOURI - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Syrian girl sits at a refugee camp in the Lebanese town of Alman on June 20, 2013, after she fled the war in family hometown Idilib province, Syria. According to the UN refugee agency, war and other crises drove one person from their home every 4.1 seconds last year, pushing the number of people forcibly displaced to a two-decade high of 45.2 million.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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