Fighting in eastern Ukraine, in particular around Donetsk, Luhansk and neighbouring towns, is driving more people from their homes and increasing the need for humanitarian aid, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports.
Vincent Cochetel, director of UNHCR's Europe Bureau, told journalists in Geneva that the number of people displaced inside Ukraine had more than doubled in the past four weeks. UNHCR estimates that 260,000 people were displaced as of Monday, compared to 117,000 in the first week of August.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said the steep rise in the number of displaced over the past three weeks was a deep concern.
"If this crisis is not quickly stopped, it will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences but it also has the potential to destabilize the whole region. After the lessons of the Balkans, it is hard to believe a conflict of these proportions could unfold in the European continent," he said.
In Luhansk, residents have been without proper supplies of food and water, and dealing with electricity shortages and communications problems for a month.