Ewan McGregor in Syrian aid appeal
Published 30/01/2013 | 18:20
Hollywood star Ewan McGregor has appealed for emergency funding to save children's lives in war-torn Syria as the UK Government pledged an extra £50 million in aid.
McGregor, 41, star of Trainspotting and Moulin Rouge!, said: "After months of violence living in fear for their lives, the traumatised families were forced to flee for safety with nothing but their clothes they were wearing.
"But now these children face a new crisis. Heavy winter rain has flooded thousands of tents destroying the only place they can call home.
"Children have been facing freezing temperatures and fierce winds with no shelter or blankets. They are bitterly cold and frightened."
McGregor, a Unicef ambassador, spoke out as International Development Secretary Justine Greening pledged an additional £50 million to deliver food, medical supplies and care, shelter, safe drinking water and sanitation services to hundreds of thousands of people across Syria and the region hit by their coldest temperatures in a decade.
It follows the announcement last weekend of £21 million to help Jordan cope with the flood of refugees fleeing civil war in its troubled neighbour, where an insurgency against president Bashar Assad has lasted almost two years.
Speaking from an emergency UN conference in Kuwait, Ms Greening said: "In Jordan on Saturday, I saw for myself the human cost of this conflict and the massive effort by NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to deal with huge numbers of refugees. Warm words alone won't help those without food, medicine or shelter.
"The UK has more than doubled its funding in the last five days as the level of need spirals - but international donors must now dig deep in Kuwait with the funding needed to save lives and assist neighbouring countries which are having to cope with huge numbers of refugees."
The £71 million promised this week, combined with £68.5 million in existing funding, means the UK is providing £139.5 million.
In its biggest-ever short-term appeal, the UN has called on the international community to donate 1.5 billion US dollars (£950 million) to help people displaced by the Syrian crisis.