These Pictures Of Clowns Making Refugee Children Laugh Are Truly Heartbreaking

Today is World Refugee Day. Almost half of the world’s refugees are children.

1. Over 50 million people were forced to flee their homes at the end of 2013. More than half of these were children, according to a United Nations report released to mark World Refugee Day on June 20.

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

Lebanese clown Sabine Choucair, a member of “Clowns Without Borders,” performs for children at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern town of Chtoura, in Bekaa valley, Lebanon on June 6.

2. The number of refugees in 2013 was 6 million more than those recorded in 2012. This is the largest number of refugees since the end of World War II.

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

This massive increase was driven mainly by the war in Syria which forced 2.5 million people into becoming refugees at the end of last year and made 6.5 million internally displaced.

3. Over 5 million Syrian children have been affected by the brutal three-year conflict. More than one million are living as refugees in neighboring countries.

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

These children are among the more than 1 million Syrians who have flooded into Lebanon over the past three years, fleeing the violence that has ripped apart their homeland.

4. More than half of all Syrian refugees are under the age of 18.

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

American clown David Clay of “Clowns Without Borders” performs for children at a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.

5. More than 80,000 Syrians live in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, making it the city’s fourth largest city.

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

Moises Queralt of Mabsutins, a comedy group from Europe, plays with refugee children at the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Jordan in December 2013.

6. The Zaatari refugee camp is home to thousands of Syrian children.

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

Syrian refugee children clap and laugh as they watch the clowns’ performance.

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

A Syrian refugee girl, dressed as a clown, laughs while being entertained by the clowns at Zaatari.

8. Around 11% of the refugees at the Zaatari camp are girls aged 5 to 11.

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

Syrian refugee girls laugh as they watch a show by Mabsutins.

9. Around 11% of Zaatari’s refugees are boys between the ages of 5 to 11.

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

Moises Queralt acts weak as a Syrian refugee child in a karate uniform pulls his arm during their show at Zaatari.

10. Poverty-stricken Syrian families in Lebanon are being forced to send their children to work in fields to make ends meet.

Stringer / Reuters

A man dressed as clown entertains Syrian refugee children on the third day of Eid al-Adha during an event organized by a humanitarian NGO in Tripoli, northern Lebanon in 2012.

11. The number of displaced people in Africa has also increased due to violent conflicts in the region.

WALTER ASTRADA/AFP / Getty Images

Albert Grau, a member of Clowns without Borders, blows shredded paper into a group of children living in the refugee camp of Kibati just north of the provincial North Kivu capital of Goma in 2009.

12. With the influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Rwanda, the city of Goma has been overpopulated with internally displaced people.

WALTER ASTRADA/AFP / Getty Images

A group of children living in the refugee camp of Kibati watch as members of Clowns Without Borders perform a skit.

13. In 2013, Sub-Saharan Africa had a refugee population of 2.9 million people, while the Middle East and North Africa had 2.6 million.

WALTER ASTRADA/AFP / Getty Images

Albert Grau plays a trumpet for the refugee children of Kibati near Goma.

14. Afghans, Syrians and Somalis account for more than half of the total global refugee population.

KHALED MECHERGUI/AFP / GettyImages

A Tunisian clown plays with Somali refugees in a refugee camp in Choucha, near the Tunsia-Libya border in 2012.

15. Last year, typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines disrupted the lives of nearly six million children.

TED ALJIBE/AFP / Getty Images

A member of Clowns Without Borders performs in front of young survivors of the super Typhoon Haiyan as part of recovery work by Plan International at a tent city in Tacloban city, Leyte province, on December 25, 2013.

16. Around 1.7 million children were displaced from their homes after Philippine’s deadliest typhoon.

TED ALJIBE/AFP / Getty Images

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com