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The rising tide

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was set up in 1951, in response to the flood of refugees after the Second World War. At the time, the refugee problem seemed relatively simple, and the UNHCR had a projected lifespan of three years.

Since then both the numbers and types of refugees have changed dramatically. International organisations like the UNHCR are struggling to cope. However the main objective of the UNHCR remain: to protect refugees and search for solutions to the problems of refugees.

The increase in refugee numbers and the wars that cause them

Click on the graphic to view a larger version.


     Super challenge
Update the diagram above to include the refugee numbers and wars from 1994 to the present day.

     Drawing conclusions
  1. What years was there the smallest number of refugees?
  2. What years was there the largest number of refugees?
  3. What does this graph show about the link between war and refugee numbers?
  4. Make a list of things that have changed since 1940, which could have affected the number of refugees. You may need to complete some further research to support the points you make in your list.
  5. From this information, what conclusions can you make about the reasons for the increasing numbers of refugees? Either write your conclusions in a paragraph or present them visually as a star diagram.