UN Humanitarian Chief welcomes US$300 million from Kuwait to support Syria Crisis response

(Geneva/New York, 18 April 2013): The United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, has welcomed the release of US$300 million from Kuwait to humanitarian agencies providing urgently needed aid to millions of Syrians.

“I am delighted the Kuwaiti Government has determined how the pledge made at the International Pledging Conference on the Syria Humanitarian Crisis on January 30 will be spent,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos. “We are very pleased that Kuwait has recognized the importance of multi-lateral work, particularly because the agencies desperately need this money. The announcement is a huge boost to our operations.”

Nine UN agencies have received a combined $275 million of the $300 million from Kuwait. The funds are being disbursed as agencies warned that they are close to suspending some humanitarian programmes due to underfunding.

The situation in Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe. Some 6.8 million people now need critical assistance in Syria, 4.25 million of them are displaced from their homes and an additional 1.3 million people have sought refuge in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and North Africa. The needs are growing rapidly and are most severe in the conflict and opposition-controlled areas.

UN aid agencies and partners have delivered healthcare, food, water and household items to millions of displaced people in Syria, despite a highly unpredictable and insecure environment. 1.5 million children have been vaccinated against measles and polio. The UN has helped shelter more than a million refugees in neighbouring countries. But as the needs are growing, funding for the response has not kept pace.

On 30 January, more than $1.5 billion, including $300 million from Kuwait, was pledged by donors at a conference hosted by H.H. Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, and chaired by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. With today’s disbursement, $700 million of these pledges has now been secured for the aid operation. The funds from Kuwait to the UN is distributed as follows: UNHCR ($110 million); WFP ($40 million); UNICEF ($53 million); WHO ($35 million); UNRWA ($15 million);
OCHA ($10 million); IOM ($5 million); UNFPA ($5 million); UNDP ($2 million).

For further information, please call:

Clare Doyle, OCHA New York, doylecm@un.org, Cell +1 646 288 6331
Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, laerke@un.org, Cell +41 79 472 9750

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.