Saturday 16 December 2017

UN asks for €5bn in aid for Syrians

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Adam Schreck, Kuwait City

A fundraising conference in Kuwait generated at least $2.4bn (€1.8bn) in pledges from international donors to alleviate the suffering of Syrians affected by their country's civil war, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

The United Nations is asking for a staggering $6.5bn (€4.8bn) this year to help Syrians affected by the war, its largest-ever funding appeal for a single crisis.

Kuwait, the United States and other donor nations had promised more than $1.2bn (€882,000) of new funding early in the day yesterday as the conference started. Aid officials hoped the drive would help cover the billions of dollars needed this year.

Millions of Syrians have been driven from their homes as a result of the crisis, now in its third year, and getting aid to many of those in need remains a challenge because they remain trapped in communities besieged by the fighting.

UN officials did not expect to raise the entire amount in Kuwait but do hope the gathering focuses greater international attention on the conflict.

"The fighting has set Syria back by years, even decades," the UN's Mr Ban said at the start of the event at the lavish Bayan Palace in the Kuwaiti capital.

Mr Ban said humanitarian and development agencies "face unprecedented demands" because of the crisis, and that it "is vital that the burden be shared" in helping meet Syria's growing aid needs.

Irish Independent

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