UN raises $7 billion for Syria from donors
Date: 2019-03-15 03:38
The United Nations won almost $7 bln in aid pledges for Syria on Thursday (March 14), overcoming fatigue among donors after eight years of war, Reuters reported.
The United Nations is seeking $3.3 billion for aid to people inside Syria and $5.5 billion for refugees in the region this year. It drew more in pledges than last year when it asked for a similar amount but received less than two-thirds of its request.
Nearly 12 million people inside Syria need emergency aid, and 5.6 million refugees are being housed and fed in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.
The European Union, the world’s biggest aid donor, pledged 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion) for this year, a sum which includes money already agreed for Syrian refugees in Turkey under a deal with Ankara to take in Syrians.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who recently visited Syria, told the conference that Syrians had lived through horrors “almost beyond contemplation” and urged countries to help finance food, water and medicine supplies.
Donors must contend with US President Donald Trump’s demand that allies carry more of the burden. His government last year failed to submit a pledge, although US funding commitments eventually came in, EU diplomats said.
The United States pledged more than $397 million on Thursday, although that was less than the $697 million offered in 2017, according to the U.S. State Department.
Mark Lowcock, UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said that emergency aid would not solve the Syria crisis. “It requires a political solution,” he said.
The European Commission has begun to put some money aside to help returning refugees, while the EU’s foreign service is using satellite images to study potential areas of reconstruction, diplomats say.