According to the UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or simply the UN Refugee Agency – in 2010, “more asylum applications were lodged in South Africa than in any other country in the world.” The trend continued in 2011 and no letting-up “in the pressure on the asylum system is expected soon.”

So for today’s blog post please read about refugee numbers from the 2012 UNHCR country operations profile – South Africa.

Tomorrow you will meet some of the people behind these numbers.

Zimbabwe refugees crossing over to South African border into the Limpopo Province. Some get caught and sent back only to try again. They face an uncertain life in South Africa. In this photo a pregnant woman scrambles under a barbed wire fence near Beit Bridge on 31 March 2007. She was one of a group of 20 Zimbabweans making their way to South Africa. Their next step was to brave their way across the flooded Limpopo River. Photo by James Oatway.