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45.2m forced to flee homes - UN

The United Nations refugee agency has revealed that more than 45.2 million people were forced to flee their homes last year, an 18-year high mainly due to wars in Syria, Afghanistan and other countries.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that globally at the end of 2012, there were 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers and 28.8 million people who fled their homes but stayed within their nation's borders.

The UNCHR reported that the Syrian civil war was a major factor in the 6% increase on the 42.5 million people displaced in 2011.

It said 55% of the refugees today come from five war-affected countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

The numbers are the highest since 1994, when people fled genocide in Rwanda and bloodshed in former Yugoslavia.

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