News / Middle East

Donors to Increase Humanitarian Aid for Syria

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah (C), U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah (R) attend the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall in Ku
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah (C), U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah (R) attend the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall in Ku
International donors met in Kuwait City Wednesday to make pledges of new funding to address the humanitarian needs of Syria's civil war.
 
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that more than nine million Syrians urgently need humanitarian assistance, nearly half of them children.
 
“Military attacks continue to target schools, health care facilities, and residential areas. Syria once had a strong health infrastructure. Now two out of five hospitals, 40 percent, no longer function,” said Ban.
 
In its largest ever combined humanitarian appeal, the United Nations is asking for $6.5 billion through the end of this year for food, water, medical care, and shelter. $2.4 billion have already been pledged.

New Humanitarian Aid Pledges for Syria

Kuwait - $500 million
Saudi Arabia - $60 million
Qatar -  $60 million
US - $380 million
EU - $225 million
Norway -  $75 million
Britain - $164 million

Pledges made at the donors' conference in Kuwait on Jan. 15, 2014.
U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said that both government troops and the armed opposition are besieging civilians inside Syria.
 
“The very fabric of society has unraveled and sectarianism has taken hold. Siege has become a weapon of war with thousands of people blockaded in their communities, running out of supplies, and unable to get basic services,” said Amos.
 
The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, opened the conference with a pledge of $500 million. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced $380 million in additional assistance, bringing Washington's humanitarian total since the crisis began to more than $1.7 billion for displaced civilians inside Syria as well as for refugees and host communities in neighboring countries.
 
“The humanitarian situation in Syria is an outrage that should offend every reasonable conscience. And the anguish of the Syrian people demands our collective action,” said Kerry.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) attends the opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at Bayan Palace Liberation Hall at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Jan. 15, 2014.
More than $177 million in new U.S. assistance for emergency medical care, shelter, and sanitation inside Syria includes counseling and protection programs for vulnerable groups such as women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
 
However, it is the humanitarian funding for Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt that reflects Washington's broader concerns. Kerry said the strains on nations hosting Syrian refugees risks creating greater instability throughout the region.
 
U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann said it is a breakdown challenging security in every direction.
 
“What originated in Syria as a result of the collapse of state authority is in fact producing the conditions for a broader cascade of state collapse in neighboring countries. And so what we're looking at is the possibility in which the entire state order in the Levant could be coming unglued in ways that could produce many, many years of instability,” said Heydemann, referring to the nations in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Syrian Refugees by Country

  • Lebanon: 868,970
  • Jordan: 582,166
  • Turkey: 571,513
  • Iraq: 212,918
  • Egypt: 132,383

Source: UNHCR
With Syrian peace talks planned to be held in Switzerland next week, Kerry said there must be a political solution to prevent the creation of more refugees. He told reporters on this trip, "There's a certain endlessness to this notion that we’re going to keep upping our contribution to more millions of people who have been displaced.”
 
Kerry also pointed out that Washington is not looking for a policy of simply increased assistance to refugees; the goal is a policy that saves Syria and allows refugees to return home and rebuild their lives.

  • Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Saif al-Umayyad brigade prepare rockets to be launched towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Jan. 16, 2014.
  • Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from buildings after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk at the Tameko pharmaceutical factory after the FSA claimed to have taken control of the factory, in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A girl carries her belongings as she walks on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • This SANA photo shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking to female preachers from mosques in Damascus and its countryside and educators of religious high schools and institutes in Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Syrian refugees wait to enter Turkey on the Syrian-Turkish border in Shamm Alqrain village, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from what activists said were explosive barrels thrown from helicopters on Daria outside Damascus, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Damaged buildings are pictured in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Residents inspect the damage caused by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant suicide bombers at the Tawhid Brigade and Al-Fateh brigade headquarters in Aleppo, Jan. 12, 2014.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid