Text size

The United Nations estimated this week that 500,000 people have been displaced in Lebanon due to the fighting with Israel - nearly 20 percent of the Lebanese population.

Between 130,000 and 150,000 are estimated to have fled to Syria, and about 45,000 are believed to be in need of assistance.

Israel renewed its bombing of targets in Lebanon on Friday, warning hundreds of thousands of southern Lebanon residents to flee northward.

A World Food Program official in Lebanon Amer Daoudi expressed concern about getting food to the displaced, saying "damage to roads and bridges has almost completely disrupted the food supply chain, hurting large numbers of the displaced."

With food and fuel supplies into the country almost impossible to replenish amid an Israeli blocade on ports and strikes on roads to Syria, prices for goods were skyrocketing - cooking gas nearly doubling to $20, some vegetables nearly quadrupling in price.

Lebanese continued their exodus from the south Thursday, streaming north to Beirut and other regions, where they crowded into schools, homes of relatives or hotels.

Taxi drivers in the south where charging up to $400 per person for rides to the capital - more than 40 times the usual price. In remote villages of the south, cut off by strikes, residents made their way out over the mountains by foot.

Tens of thousands of foreigners have been evacuated from Lebanon as an international effort gained momentum Thursday, after a small group of U.S. Marines landed in Beirut for the first time in decades.

In their first landing on Lebanese shores in about 20 years, the Marines added speed to the U.S. effort to evacuate about 8,000 of its citizens. About 25,000 Americans are thought to be in Lebanon and there were indications that all those who want to leave may be able to do so by the weekend.

Countries including Russia, Germany, Norway, Greece, Switzerland, Turkey and Jordan also evacuated many of their citizens from Lebanon this week.

Boats were forced to line up outside Beirut harbor and had to wait before docking in nearby Larnaca, Cyprus. Larnaca was so crowded that some ships were being diverted to the Cypriot port of Limassol.