BEIRUT: The number of Syrian refugees in the country now exceeds 625,000, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees reported in its weekly update Friday.
However, for the second week running the report noted a slight decrease in the number of new arrivals in the Bekaa Valley as compared with the period during the Qusair battle on the Syrian side of the border. A total of 546 families arrived this week, down from 606 the previous week, local municipalities told the UNHCR.
But as the number of refugees in Lebanon rises overall and shelters are exhausted, the UNHCR in collaboration with the Social Affairs Ministry is continuing to work to identify suitable sites for formal tented settlements and more collective shelters, the report said.
Also Friday, at the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria staged a sit-in in front of the office of the director of UNRWA operations in the camp.
The refugees handed officials a memo demanding that donor countries and UNRWA increase the budget allocated for assisting refugees from Syria to secure for them a minimum standard of living. The refugees specifically demanded that aid be extended to cover rents and subsidize food purchases.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 20, 2013, on page 3.