NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus is doubling the existing 1,153-person capacity of its main migrant reception camp as the island nation prepares for potentially a large influx of people if the crisis in neighboring Israel and Gaza escalates, authorities said Monday.
The Pournara reception camp — on the outskirts of the capital Nicosia — will see an increase in staffing to adequately provide needed care to new arrivals and expedite asylum application processing, Cypriot Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said in a statement.
Authorities have evaluated different venues where migrants could be accommodated if arrivals exceed the capacity of the center and would immediately ask the European Union to dispatch more personnel to help process asylum applications, the statement said.
Nearly 200 migrants arrived in Cyprus aboard four separate boats on Saturday alone, likely setting sail from Lebanon which is 108 miles (174 kilometers) from the country’s eastern coastline – reported state broadcaster CyBC.
Regular clashes have flared up between Israeli forces and armed groups in Lebanon since the war between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas erupted following the latter’s deadly Oct. 7 attack.
According to the most recent official statistics, migrant arrivals by boat in August and September more than tripled from the same period last year.
Follow AP’s coverage of migration issues at https://apnews.com/hub/migration