UNITED NATIONS - More than 100,000 people have fled the fighting between government forces and militants groups in the Khyber agency since January, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting that began on January 20th. ‘The people who left their homes stated that they shifted because of the proximity of fighting and due to instructions by the authorities to evacuate the area’, a UNHCR spokesperson, Melissa Fleming, told reporters in Geneva, according to a Press release issued at UN Headquarters in New York.

She said a recent increase in the intensity of the fighting is driving even larger numbers of families to flee to the safety of the Jalozai camp, where UNHCR is registering them and providing them with basic humanitarian supplies. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food aid in Jalozai, located near the western city of Peshawar, the agency said.

UNHCR said it has been registering an average of 2,000 families per day since mid-March. All of those registered were provided with a UNHCR aid package, a hygiene kit from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and an initial one-month food supply, it added. There are some 62,818 people currently in the Jalozai camp, of which 47,134 were living in the camp before March 17th. Melissa Fleming noted that this is now the largest camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Pakistan.

This is not the first time that a Pakistani military offensive has uprooted such large numbers of civilians. More than two million people were displaced by similar clashes between Government troops and militants in north-west Pakistan in 2009, leading to one of the largest displacement crisis in the world.