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UN warns of rising tensions as refugees flood into cities

"From the slums of Kabul to the shanties of Damascus, more than half of the world's refugees are now scraping by on tiny strips of land in increasingly overcrowded, overburdened cities.

Rather than living in rows of neatly pegged white canvas UN tents set up in fields as the public might imagine it, aid officials have revealed that more than 50 per cent of the planet's 10.5 million refugees are now battling to get by in urban areas. Cities also contain more than 20 million internal refugees and displaced people.

"We need to abandon the outmoded image that most refugees live in sprawling camps of tents," said Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "What we are witnessing is that more and more refugees live in cities. The rights of refugees travel with them wherever they flee and they are entitled to the same protection and services in cities and towns that they have traditionally received in camps."

The Independent reports on a problem the world simply can't ignore - let alone sweep under the carpet.


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