Cypriot authorities have said Cyprus has received 458 Syrian refugees from Lebanon in a week, as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to spread into a wider regional conflict.
Authorities in Cyprus said on Monday that they are bracing for a larger influx of asylum seekers, as clashes on the Lebanese border with Israel continue to escalate.
Several boats came to Cyprus on Saturday in batches; the first boat from Lebanon had one hundred and ten people, and the second a further fifty two. Both had been heading for Cyprus’s southeastern coastal resort of Ayia Napa.
Two more vessels were later intercepted with over 30 people on board and taken to the southern port of Larnaca.
Late on Saturday night, 194 Syrians arrived aboard four boats from Lebanon and were taken to the Pournara reception centre outside Nicosia.
Interior Ministry official Loizos Hadjivasiliou told local media that the Pournara centre was now full, and an emergency plan had been activated to handle an increase in arrivals.
The Saturday arrivals come a week after 264 Syrian refugees arrived on three boats from Lebanon while Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou accused Beirut of not regulating migrant movements across the Mediterranean Sea.