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The world’s awful summer, in numbers

This summer has been rife with war and crises. Here is an overview over the hideous carnage wreaked in the past three months.

Casualties in conflicts

Iraq: 5,574 +

The death toll, provided by the United Nations, excludes Anbar province. The most lethal month was June, when the Islamic State militants' territorial gains in Iraq overwhelmed the international community.

Ukraine: 1,500 +

This toll only refers to July 16 to Aug. 17, and incorporates the death of the 298 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 passengers. If measured from mid-April to mid-August, the death toll is at least 2,518 (including the MH17 passengers), which indicates that the days between July 16 and Aug. 17 have been the most lethal in the three month time span.

Gaza conflict: 2,170 +

At the end of August, the United Nations reported that 2,104 Palestinians had been killed during this summer's Gaza conflict, dubbed in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. On the Israeli side, at least 69 citizens were killed by Aug. 28 according to the United Nations. However, a BBC story published Sept. 1 states an Israeli death toll of 72, as well as one casualty with Thai citizenship.

Syria: The U.N. stopped counting

In early 2014 the United Nations stopped continuing to officially count its Syria death toll after it had reached 100,000, citing a lack of access and the rare availability of information necessary to verify the data. In late August, the U.N. Human Rights office broadly estimated that the death toll might have reached 191,000 by April 2014 and that the killing had accelerated in speed. However, no exact data is available for May to August.

Casualties in other catastrophes

West Africa: 1,900 + 

The countries currently most affected by the Ebola outbreak are Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leona — with Liberia leading the statistics with the highest death toll by Aug. 26. The latest death toll indicating that at least 1,900 people had died so far was released on Wednesday. Earlier, the group Doctors Without Borders warned that the world was losing its battle against Ebola, particularly criticizing that West African treatment centers had given up on trying to rescue those infected. Instead, access to the cities with high numbers of casualties has been limited which is now feared to cause a food crisis, as prices for food keep rising.

Refugees and displaced people

The term "refugee" is usually used to describe citizens who flee to other countries, while the notion of 'displaced people' refers to those forced to move into other parts of their country. Since data collection varies between the countries the numbers below are only benchmarks. However, they give us a sense of how many people had to leave their homes or countries over the past three months.

Iraq: 1,193,369 +

From June to July, another 571,068 people were internally displaced and the speed of displacement even accelerated in August. The United Nations estimate that over 600,000 people were displaced in Iraq last month (data released Aug. 24), which alone accounts for one third of the total number of those displaced in Iraq since January (1.8 million). According to U.N. officials the number of refugees that flee out of the country is relatively low. However, the United Nations believes that some Iraqis have fled to Syria, while some Syrians have moved into the opposite direction. "It shows how bad the situation in the region is, if Iraqis think they're better off in Syria," a United Nations spokesperson in Geneva says.

Syria: 200,000 + (without number of displaced people)

Since the beginning of June, about 200,000 Syrian refugees were registered, and another 35,000 people are currently awaiting their registration. The comparison to other crises, however, lags: The Syrian flight began nearly three years ago and the total number of registered refugees now amounts to about 3 million. To put the Syrian number in context, here is a striking U.N. graph showing how rapidly the number of registered refugees went up to about 2 million from summer 2012 to fall 2013.

Ukraine: 326,000 +

On Tuesday, the U.N. Refugee Agency said the number of people displaced inside Ukraine had increased 26-fold over the last three months. At the end of May, the United Nations estimated there were 10,000 internally displaced people in Ukraine, now the number has risen to 260,000 after having doubled in August. The sudden rise reflects the intensification of the fighting in eastern Ukraine but it does not necessarily reflect the full amount of displaced people. An additional 66,000 applied for refuge in Russia last month alone. Furthermore, Ukrainians can move to Russia without requesting a visa, and the United Nations estimates that about 814,000 have done so since the beginning of the year. That is why the United Nations broadly estimates that one million Ukrainians have been displaced in total since the fighting began. The time frames of these numbers widely vary but we can say for sure that more than 326,000 Ukrainians have either been internally displaced or sought refuge in Russia in the last three months. Most likely, the actual number is much higher.

South Sudan: 400,000 +

Within the last three months, at least 400,000 have been displaced in South Sudan or sought refuge abroad due to continuing violence and a looming hunger catastrophe. The recent surge in displaced people (about 300,000) can partially be explained by the fact that the United Nations has only recently gained access to some remote South Sudanese areas to collect precise data. The number of refugees -- which can be evaluated more precisely -- nevertheless reflects a similar trend: About 90,000 South Sudanese fled abroad between the beginning of June and the end of August.

Nigeria: 200,000 +

Boko Haram made international headlines in 2014 and caused fear in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. Earlier this year in May, the U.N. Security Council added Boko Haram to its al-Qaeda sanctions list specifying that the group was alleged of “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of al-Qaeda.” Boko Haram has distinguished itself from other groups by not refraining from attacks on fellow Muslims, the kidnapping of schoolgirls, and spreading fear which caused the displacement of at least 200,000 Nigerians from the end of May to August in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.