World pledges aid to Syria, total hits US$3.8 billion so far
International donors pledged US$3.8 billion on Tuesday to help alleviate war-torn Syria’s humanitarian crisis, which Kuwait’s emir warned was the worst in “modern history.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told participants at the meeting in Kuwait that four out of five people in Syria were living in “poverty, misery and deprivation.
Addressing the closing session of the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria, Ban welcomed the promised funds as “very generous.
The amount almost equals the combined total of US$3.9 billion promised at the two previous conferences.
Ban said later at a news conference that as many as “16 million Syrians need assistance,” including five millions in areas hard to reach because of fighting.
The European Union pledged nearly 1.1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion), double the amount the bloc offered last year, while Kuwait opened the conference with a promise of US$500 million.
The United States pledged US$507 million and non-governmental organizations committed more than US$500 million.
Other major contributions came from the United Kingdom with US$150 million, the United Arab Emirates with US$100 million and Norway which promised US$93 million.
French Minister for Development Annick Girardin said Paris pledged US$22.7 million in addition to US$100 million as part of the European pledge.
Jordan and Lebanon, which together host close to 2.5 million refugees, were represented by their premiers who appealed for international aid to help their economies cope with the tragedy.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah proposed to set up a special fund for the education of Syrian children.
In Brussels, EU aid commissioner Christos Stylianides said in a statement that “the needs are overwhelming, and an extraordinary effort is needed by the wider donor community to mobilize significant funding. The money pledged by the bloc consists of 500 million euros in “humanitarian aid, early recovery and longer-term stabilization assistance” from the European Commission, with the balance coming in pledges from the bloc’s 28 countries, the EU said.
Tuesday’s conference, attended by representatives from nearly 80 countries, was preceded by a meeting of charitable organizations.