News / Middle East

US Says Gulf States, BRICS Should Help Syria

FILE - Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne C. Richard speaks at an event in recognition of World Refugee Day at the State Department, June 20, 2013. FILE - Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne C. Richard speaks at an event in recognition of World Refugee Day at the State Department, June 20, 2013.
x
FILE - Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne C. Richard speaks at an event in recognition of World Refugee Day at the State Department, June 20, 2013.
FILE - Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne C. Richard speaks at an event in recognition of World Refugee Day at the State Department, June 20, 2013.
Reuters
Gulf Arab states and the fast-emerging BRICS economies should do more to address an expected funding shortfall of billions of dollars for Syrian aid efforts, a senior United States official said on Thursday.
 
Describing Syria as an “overwhelming and fast-moving humanitarian catastrophe”, Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard said the accelerating pace of the crisis presented an almost unprecedented challenge.
 
Around 1.7 million refugees have fled Syria, most to Lebanon and Jordan whose small populations are struggling to cope with the influx, and four million more have been displaced within Syria by the two-year conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and rebels.
 
The United Nations expects the refugee numbers to double by the end of the year and says 10 million in total will need help. It has launched its biggest ever aid effort in response, seeking $5 billion to cover operations for the second half of the year.
 
But its more modest appeal for the first six months of the year was significantly underfunded, raising questions over prospects for meeting the latest target.
 
“Traditional donors in Europe feel the weight of economic problems. The world looks to the Gulf states to be new donors, emerging donors,” Richard told Reuters. “We are in fact approaching ... the BRICS and Gulf countries.”
 
According to United Nations figures the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa contributed just $9.3 million out of a total of nearly $2.1 billion so far this year to U.N. and aid organizations for the Syria crisis.
 
Richards singled out Kuwait for praise. It delivered on a pledge of $300 million earlier this year, and for handing it over to the United Nations to be part of a coordinated international effort.
 
But other wealthy Gulf Arab states could do more.
 
“Traditionally the Gulf states prefer to give assistance bilaterally and sometimes prefer to provide in-kind assistance,” she said in an interview at the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
 
“When I go and ask them to write a cheque to the United Nations, that represents a departure from their preferred methods of doing things,” she said.
 
The United States pledged $300 million in humanitarian assistance earlier this month, bringing its total contribution since the start of the conflict to $815 million.
 
Richard, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, was speaking during a visit to Lebanon, a country of four million people which hosts a Syrian refugee population that officially stands at half a million but may be closer to 1 million.
 
The influx has added to pressures in a country which is already suffering from the spread of sectarian tensions and violence from the Syrian conflict. The cities of Tripoli and Sidon have seen street battles, while the capital Beirut and eastern Bekaa Valley have come under rocket attack.
 
“Without additional help the communities that are hosting these refugees will ... really become strained and this will lead to tensions,” Richard said, adding that she was looking at directing U.S. funds towards Lebanese host communities “so that they don't have a backlash against the refugees”.
 
But, anticipating a regional funding gap “in the billions of dollars”, she said she had also discussed with U.N. agencies how they could prioritize aid to the most vulnerable cases, even if it meant turning away people in genuine need.
 
“That's a terrible calculus to make,” she said, but one that might be forced upon aid groups by the scale of events.
 
“I don't think any crisis matches this one in terms of so many [people] moving so fast. That speed ... has really challenged aid workers and all of the countries surrounding Syria.” Richard explained.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid