(Reuters) -- The U.S. pledged $135 million in additional aid for the victims of the Syrian Civil War Saturday, much of it to help the United Nations with a funding shortfall it had warned could force it to scale back food distribution. Neighboring nations have borne the brunt of the humanitarian crisis sparked by the civil war, which has killed almost 200,000 people and forced more than 3 million to flee.
Bringing the total aid given by Washington since the start of the war in 2011 to more than $3 billion, the money will mainly go to the U.N. World Food Program, or WFP, according to a statement by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s office. The U.S. pledge will provide $132.8 million to WFP. The Turkish Red Crescent will also benefit.
“The new funding will help feed vulnerable people inside Syria; Syrian refugees in Turkey; and Syrian refugees in other countries,” the statement said. It was released during Biden’s visit to Turkey this weekend.
The U.S. also planned to admit close to 7,000 refugees from Turkey in the coming year, including Iraqis, Iranians, and a growing number of Syrians, the statement said The move is part of a wider program to resettle thousands of the most vulnerable refugees in the U.S.
Aid workers have warned funding for the refugee crisis has been falling far short of requirements, with the U.N. saying it may have to slash food rations as a result. In September, WFP said it would require an additional $352 million to continue its work until the end of the year.
Turkey, which has taken in around one-half of all Syrian refugees, says it has spent more than $4 billion on its aid effort. Officials there have frequently voiced frustration with what they see as insufficient help from Western donors.
(Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Writing by Jonny Hogg; Editing by Nick Tattersall and David Evans)