The UN refugee agency reported that intense fighting among rival armed groups in western, eastern and south-eastern Libya has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in the past month.
The stepped up conflict is centered on the towns of Benghazi and Derna in the east, in the country's south-east at Ubari and in the west at Kikla. The insecurity is hampering humanitarian operations.
Aid agencies are still trying to calculate the scale of internal displacement. "We have confirmed reports from our NGO partners of 56,500 people having fled Benghazi in the past few weeks," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said in Geneva, adding that they included some 2,500 already internally displaced people originating from the deserted northern town of Tawergha.
Still more people have fled from the eastern coastal town of Derna, but UNHCR is unable to confirm how many. Local crisis committees in the south-east confirm some 11,280 people have fled fighting in Ubari, while in the west civilian groups report 38,640 people have been displaced by fighting in Kikla, including many women and children.
"In all, we estimate that more than 393,420 people have become internally displaced in Libya since violence escalated in May. They are scattered across 35 towns and cities and are in dire need of shelter, health care, food, water and other basic commodities," Edwards said.
The fighting has been fiercest in Benghazi, from where people have fled to the nearby towns of Al Marj, Ajdabiya, Al Bayda, and Misrata. These towns are now reaching the limits of what they can to help the displaced.