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UN is seeking $8bn aid for Syria
31 Mar 2015 10:10
A major UN donors' conference that aims to raise billions of dollars for Syria opens today in Kuwait with experts warning of a "humanitarian catastrophe" unfolding in the war-torn country.
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The United Nations has launched an appeal to raise $8.4 billion (€7.7bn) this year, and hopes to receive major pledges at the one-day conference which will be attended by delegates from 78 nations.
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will chair the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria, which will be opened by Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
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"Failing to meet the required funds risks resulting in a horrifying and dangerous humanitarian catastrophe," said Abdullah al-Maatuq, UN special envoy for humanitarian affairs, in the lead up to the conference.
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The conference is being held as the humanitarian situation deteriorates in Syria with many international aid agencies complaining that a shortage of funding could lead to their operations being halted.
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Ahead of the meeting, around 40 international non-governmental organisations pledged $506m, much higher than funds promised at two previous NGO conferences.
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UN humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos said the donor response at today's conference "needs to be comprehensive".
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She said the humanitarian situation had deteriorated in Syria with no reduction in violence and children particularly affected.
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At the first and second conferences, also hosted by Kuwait, pledges of $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion were made. However, the UN has complained that not all pledges were honoured.
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Mr Ban said in a report last week that devastation from the fighting in Syria had left around 7.6m people internally displaced.
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Another 3.9m have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
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"Every day brings more death, displacement and destruction," the UN report said.
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