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Kuwait's Amir appeals for aid for Syrians affected by war – UN seeks $6.5bn to tackle ‘worst humanitarian crisis’

Kuwait's Amir appeals for aid for Syrians affected by war – UN seeks $6.5bn to tackle ‘worst humanitarian crisis’

KUWAIT: HH the Kuwait's Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah yesterday appealed for donations to a nationwide campaign aimed at raising funds for Syrians facing a grave humanitarian crisis due to the country’s conflict. The Amir urged “Kuwaiti men and women, foreigners living in the country, NGOs and private companies to contribute to the national campaign for the relief of our Syrian brothers inside and outside the country,” a statement from the royal court said.

The Amir added the failure of the international community to end Syrians’ suffering “will remain a stigma to be remembered through generations”. On Sunday night, several Kuwaiti charities announced a fundraising campaign to raise $141 million to build camps for Syrian refugees.

The appeal comes two days before a UN-sponsored donors conference in Kuwait City to raise an unprecedented $6.5 billion for Syrians amid UN reports of deteriorating humanitarian conditions inside the war-torn country. At the first donors conference in Jan 2013, Kuwait promised and later paid $300 million out of total pledges of $1.5 billion, of which only around 75 percent were fulfilled. The UN has described the Syria appeal as the largest ever in its history for a single humanitarian emergency. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will chair the one-day ministerial-level Second International Pledging Conference for Syria, which will be opened by Sheikh Sabah. UN Secretary General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator Nigel Fisher has told Kuwait’s official KUNA news agency that the funds will be used to aid some 13.4 million Syrians whom the United Nations estimates will be affected by the Syrian civil war by the end of 2014.

The figure is higher than the original 10 million people announced by the United Nations seven months ago. The United Nations will need $2.3 billion to support 9.3 million people inside Syria and $4.2 billion for Syrian refugees, expected to nearly double to 4.1 million by year’s end, the UN official said. The World Food Programme said it was stepping up food aid and would also provide supplements to around 240,000 toddlers aged 6-23 months, to ensure they do not suffer from malnutrition. Ahead of his arrival in Kuwait City, Ban warned that the humanitarian situation in Syria has been deteriorating and called on donor nations to help meet the target. The situation has reached a “very serious… and critical” level, Ban said in an interview with KUNA. “Almost half the population has been affected… 40 percent of the hospitals have been destroyed and another 20 percent not functioning properly. This is a very sad situation. UN humanitarian operations chief Valerie Amos said in a statement ahead of the conference that the money would be used to assist civilians affected by the civil war. “In mid-December we launched the largest ever appeal for a single humanitarian emergency,” Amos said. “We requested $6.5 billion. We are doing our utmost to support the children, women and men affected by this bloody conflict. The funding that we need is unprecedented,” she said. Ban has affirmed to KUNA that the UN is experiencing “serious funding gaps”.


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