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LIBYA: Thousands fleeing every day, U.N. refugee agency says

March 25, 2011 |  5:42 pm

Thousands of people are fleeing the violence in Libya every day, the U.N. refugee agency says.

Tunisia is receiving about 2,000 arrivals daily, most of them Sudanese and Bangladeshi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement Friday. Between 1,500 and 2,000 others are crossing into Egypt each day, most of them Libyans and Egyptians but also a growing number from Chad.

As of Wednesday, the total number who had fled the fighting stood at more than 351,000, the statement said. The UNHCR is also receiving reports from its partners of increasing displacement inside Libya.

The Santa Monica-based International Medical Corps estimates that as many as 20,000 people have taken refuge in the small town of Butwen, east of the contested city of Ajdabiya, the statement said.

The Libyan Red Crescent has told the UNHCR that some 5,000 people are displaced in the coastal town of Derna.

The UNHCR said it had sent two convoys with medical supplies to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi through the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Libyan Red Crescent. It has also sent thousands of blankets, sleeping mats and other relief items. But it said it did not have access to other parts of Libya.

-- Alexandra Zavis