Up to 30,000 Syrian refugees may have crossed into Lebanon in the past 48 hours to escape fighting in their country, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.
“We have reports we are trying to verify that thousands of Syrians overnight and yesterday crossed into Lebanon. So far reports vary between 8,500 and 30,000 people may have crossed in the past 48 hours,” said Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “Borders remain open...people continue to flood into Lebanon.”
One million Syrians are also believed to be internally displaced within the country as of last week, she told a news briefing in Geneva. The figure came from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent whose previous estimate was that 500,000 were uprooted.
The UNHCR also said that Syrian banks are reported to be running out of cash and a rush to find safe housing has caused rents in some places to spike to $100 per night.
“We’ve heard reports that many of the banks have just run out of money,” UNHCR’s chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.
“I just have a report from our staff that says state and private banks are reported to be out of funds. Whether this is all banks, I don’t know,” she said.
“This is specifically relevant to the refugee population as reported but it’s probably also affecting the Syrian population.”