UN And US Pledge More Money For Syrian Humanitarian Response

 @MayaErgas
on January 31 2013 6:14 PM
Syrian refugee beign treated by doctor
A doctor treats an internally displaced child in a school at a village outside Damascus January 28, 2013. Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

The U.S. and the U.N. have pledged $155 million and $1.5 billion, respectively, to help Syrian refugees, both in and outside the country, but there are concerns that these funds may not be enough given the growing disaster Syria finds itself in almost two years into the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

The U.N., in fact, doesn’t exactly have the promised $1.5 billion yet, but at a pledging conference in Kuwait City,  donors committed to giving even more than the target amount, although the exact number hadn’t been calculated yet.

At the conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that this was “a message of hope to the millions of Syrians who have been affected by this terrible crisis.”

“We urgently need your help,” Ban said in a statement. “I am deeply mindful of budget pressures that every government faces today, but we cannot allow funding constraints to prevent us from bringing life-saving aid to people in desperate need. Without resources, we cannot deliver. Without resources, more people will die.”

Of the $1.5 billion pledged by the U.N., $519 million will be put to work for humanitarian work in 10 locations inside Syria itself, said Valerie Amos, U.N. emergency relief coordinator.

While in Kuwait City, Ban also met with Jordan’s King Abdullah to thank him for helping more than 200,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan who are registered or waiting to be registered.

The U.S. pledge of $155 million will bring the total amount that the U.S. has donated to Syrian relief up to $365 million, a State Department statement said. Of that largesse, $52 million will help Syrian refugees in Jordan, and $51 will help those in Lebanon.

The $155 million includes the $10 million that USAID head Nancy Lindborg announced last Friday while she was in Turkey.

The Syrian conflict is estimated to have claimed more than 60,000 lives, displaced 2 million people within Syria, and created between 600,000 and 700,000 refugees in neighboring countries.

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