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Global Forced Displacement at 18-Year High

Number of newly displaced persons per day per year.
Number of newly displaced persons per day per year.
The United Nations refugee agency says more people in 2012 became refugees or internally displaced people than at any time since 1994.

The UNHCR said in a report Wednesday that war and other crises last year forced one person from his or her home every 4.1 seconds.

The agency's annual Global Trends report said more than 45.2 million people were displaced in 2012 compared to 42.5 million in 2011.

Antonio Guterres, head of UNHCR, said the numbers "reflect individual suffering on a huge scale."

The report says war is the main reason for displacement with more than 55 percent of all refugees coming from five war-affected countries - Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.

UNHCR says Afghanistan is the world's "top producer" of refugees, a position it has held for 32 years.

Forty-six percent of refugees are children under the age of 18, according to the report.

UNHCR said a record 21,300 asylum applications were submitted in 2012 from children who were unaccompanied or separated from their parents.