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A man looks out from the roof of a van full with Gambian refugee children as they wait for more passengers to arrive by canoe in Niafarang, Senegal, January 17, 2017. Picture taken January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Emma Farge


GENEVA (Reuters) - Political turmoil in Gambia has driven about 45,000 people, mainly children, to flee into Senegal since Jan. 1, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday, citing figures from the Senegalese government.

"The next few days will be critical and more people may leave the country if the current situation is not resolved peacefully soon," UNHCR said in a statement. Senegalese authorities had prepared aid for 100,000 arrivals, it said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Gareth Jones)