GENEVA (AFP) - Up to half of the worlds 10.5 million refugees now live in cities instead of rural camps, adding to the strain on booming cities and hampering aid, the UN refugee agency said Monday. We need to abandon the outmoded image that most refugees live in sprawling camps of UNHCR tents, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement. What we are witnessing is that more and more refugees live in cities, he added ahead of a meeting with mayors and city leaders to discuss the problem. Another 10 million internally displaced people and returnees are believed to be in urban areas. The UNHCR warned that the arrival of large numbers of people fleeing wars and hardship adds to the strain on public resources such as city health care and schools, and can send local prices of accommodation and food soaring. Many refugees also end up in overcrowded slums, on the margins of health or social care, stay under the radar for fear of deportation and turn to the informal economy as they struggle for survival, the agency added. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who fled their country found sanctuary in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and Amman in Jordan. Two years ago, Syria and Jordan appealed for international help to ease the refugee burden, as local resources were stretched. Slums in the Colombian capital Bogota and Abidjan in Ivory Coast have both absorbed hundreds of thousands of victims of armed conflict, according to the UNHCR. UNHCR is also facing a difficult challenge, its a much more complex environment, spokesman Andrej Mahecic explained. Mayors and officials from several major cities, including Cairo, Nairobi, Amman, Beirut, Bogota, Isfahan and Montevideo, are due to meet in Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the refugee challenge under UNHCR auspices.