June 18 (UPI) -- The United Nations said Thursday that more than 79 million people were displaced last year because of war, violence, persecution and other tragedies, a total nearly doubling the amount from 10 years ago.
The number represents one out of every 97 people in the world, the U.N.'s refugee agency UNHCR said in its Global Trends report. Of the 79 million, the agency said 30 million to 34 million are displaced children.
"This almost 80 million figure -- the highest that UNHCR has recorded since these statistics have been systematically collected, is, of course, a reason for great concern," UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi said in a statement. "This is approximately 1 percent of the world's population, we have never reached this very significant percentage."
The high commissioner said 70 percent of those displaced came from Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.
"This continues to be a global issue, an issue for all states, but one that challenges most directly the poorer countries -- not the richer countries -- in spite of the rhetoric," Grandi said.
Grandi said 73 percent of those forced to move went on to find shelter in the countries next to them, challenging the notion most migrants and refugees leave their homes to richer countries far from home.