BEIRUT: The number of Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria to Lebanon has reached at least 55,000, a Palestinian Liberation Organization official said Friday.
Fathi Abu al-Ardat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said 55,000 people were in need of social assistance after fleeing refugee camps and their residences in Syria, which have been destroyed or damaged in fighting.
He made the comments after a meeting with Sidon MP Bahia Hariri at her residence in the town of Majdalyoun.
Previous estimates of the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon stood at around 40,000.
“We thanked MP Hariri for her efforts in this issue and for embracing our people,” said Abu al-Ardat. Ardat also said the PLO had allocated a monthly sum of $1 million to help Palestinian refugees across the region, with $750,000 going to refugees inside Syria, $200,000 for refugees in Lebanon, $40,000 to those in Egypt and $10,000 for people in Gaza.
“This is of course a modest amount of money given the number of refugees fleeing Syria. ... We insisted during this meeting to continue the collaboration among different Palestinian factions to ensure the safety of the Palestinian camps,” he said.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 11, 2013, on page 2.