March 20, 2011 / 5:50 PM / 8 years ago

Libya-to-Egypt exodus topped 3,800 Saturday: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - More than 3,800 refugees crossed into Egypt from Libya Saturday, up about 70 percent on the numbers seen in recent days, according to U.N. officials.

Citing figures provided by Egyptian authorities, a spokeswoman for the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 3,843 peopled had crossed the border by midnight, with 2,320 of them of Libyan nationality.

The IOM estimates that about 317,600 people have left Libya, most of them migrant workers, fleeing intensified fighting and a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone enforced by Western and Arab powers.

They have fled mainly into Tunisia and Egypt, but also increasingly into Niger and Algeria. U.N. officials had no figures from the weekend on the scale of the exodus to those other countries.

A spokeswoman for UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, said staff at the Egyptian border saw some Libyans stay in their cars at the border overnight and then return to Libya Sunday morning.

The number entering Libya Sunday was 520, although this will have included traders who cross regularly.

The UNHCR spokeswoman also said the agency was hearing of a high level of displacement in the east of the country around rebel-held Benghazi, where people were taking refuge in schools and other buildings.

Reporting by Andrew Callus; Editing by Jon Boyle

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