Donors pledge US$1.5 billion for humanitarian response to crisis in Syria [EN/AR]

(Kuwait City, 30 January 2013): The international donor community today pledged more than US$1.5 billion in support of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced at the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, hosted by the State of Kuwait and chaired by the UN Secretary-General, that some US$1.5 billion had been pledged for humanitarian action in Syria and for neighbouring countries that are hosting refugees. More than 60 countries participated in the conference, together with inter-governmental organizations and NGOs.

“The world is standing with the Syrian people in this humanitarian emergency. We will continue to stand by them as we work to help pull Syria out of its death spiral and find a peaceful end to this calamity,” said Ban Ki-moon.

The conflict has claimed over 60,000 lives and displaced more than two million people from their homes. More than four million people, half of them children, urgently need food, water, shelter as well as warm clothes and shoes to cope with the harsh winter.

“I am delighted that so many countries have come together to support the people of Syria,” said UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos. “Money has been pledged, but that is just the start. We now have to do all we can to turn that into action on the ground - but the environment in which we work is extremely challenging.”

More than 700,000 refugees have sought safety in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere in North Africa and Europe. The UN Refugee Agency has warned that this number could rise to more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees by the end of 2013.

“The contributions today will allow us to significantly scale up our response to meet the basic needs of the Syrian people who are suffering so much,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, who described the pledging event as “unprecedented”.

The UN has launched two appeals for the humanitarian response in Syria and neighbouring countries, calling for a total of US$1.5 billion. A portion of the pledges made in Kuwait will help fund those appeals.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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