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Middle east

Syria aid pledges exceed $1.5 billion target

Video by Rochelle FERGUSON

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-30

Donors at an international aid conference in Kuwait on Wednesday exceeded the US$1.5 billion target in pledges to Syrians displaced by the nearly two-year conflict, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.


International donors at a Kuwait conference on Wednesday pledged more than the targeted $1.5 billion in aid for stricken Syrians, UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced.

"I am pleased to announce that pledges have exceeded the target... more than $1.5 billion has been pledged including the $184 million pledged by non-governmental organisations," Ban told a news conference.

"The exact amount of the pledges are being calculated," said the secretary general, adding: "This is the largest humanitarian conference in the history of the United Nations."

But the funds are only expected to cover the coming months, highlighting the massive financial burden of coping with Syria’s civil war and its impact on the region in general.

Furthermore, there is concern about how quickly the pledged money will reach over-stretched aid groups. Officials in Egypt and elsewhere have complained that many generous international offers for help after the Arab Spring upheavals have not yet materialised.

Kuwait's deputy foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah said pointedly that "the door is open for countries that have not donated to do so".

The UN Secretary-General opened the gathering by calling for an end to the fighting "in the name of humanity," yet noted that the fighting shows no signs of easing and that the refugee crises could intensify.

As more refugees pour into neighbouring Jordan its leader warned resources were strained to the limit. Speaking at the UN-led gathering in Kuwait, the country's King Abdullah II said sheltering and assisting the refugee wave is above the country’s "capacity and potential."

"We have reached the end of the line. We have exhausted our resources," he said.
Some UN officials say the refugee figures could approach one million later this year if the conflict in Syria does not ease.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-01-30

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