A youngster sits beside his belongings as he waits for his parents to cross a river as they flee from a troubled area in Swat Valley.—AP/File Photo

GENEVA:More than 181,000 people have fled fighting between government troops and Taliban or al Qaeda-linked militants in northwest Pakistan, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

“The number of people displaced by an ongoing government security operation in northwest Pakistan has now surpassed 181,000,” said a statement from the office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The agency said that about 10,000 new arrivals were being registered daily by officials at the Jalozai camp near the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

“The vast majority of those registered —85 per cent —choose not live in the Jalozai camp, opting instead to stay with friends, relatives or in rented accommodation,” said the UNHCR.

The body said it had distributed more than 37,000 humanitarian kits and other UN agencies, including Unicef and the World Health Organisation (WHO), were also providing aid.

The fighting started on January 20 when government troops attacked militant groups in the Khyber region.