For years, small boats have left northern Lebanon's coast, packed with desperate migrants hoping to reach European shores.
Until recently, they carried mostly Syrian and Palestinian refugees.
But with Lebanon in freefall, its citizens have begun joining their ranks in larger numbers.
Mohammad Ghandour never thought he'd be one of them.
But he says Lebanon's economic crisis has left him unable to feed his seven children, and gave him no choice.
"I can't afford to make a living for my children anymore. We can't live anymore unless I steal, but I don't want to steal nor do I want my children to grow up and steal. We want to run away from here to get away from illegal activities, because those who are staying alive in this country are living off ill-gotten means. That's it in the end, those who are like me with seven children can't survive apart from by ill-gotten means."
Ghandour is one of dozens of Lebanese who've attempted the journey since late August.
After 28 hours lost at sea, Ghandour says his boat, carrying his wife, children and other relatives, arrived on a beach near the Cypriot seaside resort of Larnaca.
He says his family was detained in a camp for several days and prevented from lodging a formal claim for asylum, before being sent back to Lebanon.
"I didn't think they would send us back from Cyprus at all. I wish they had let us drown in the sea instead of bringing us back here; it would have been better because the children are devastated now, they faced death in the sea."
Cypriot authorities said about 230 Lebanese and Syrians were sent back to Lebanon by sea in early September.
They'd arrived in Cyprus on five boats during the previous weeks.