Feb. 4, 2013 – Thirty-eight countries plus the European Commission pledged more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria at a donors conference in Kuwait last week.
The amounts ranged from $20,000, from Cyprus, to $300 million, by three countries – Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.
Japan, $65 million; Finland, $4.5 million; Poland, $500,000; and Botswana $50,000 were among the donors.
About one-third of the funds raised are targeted for the UN humanitarian response plan for delivering aid inside Syria. That plan requires $519 million from January to June 2013 to assist 2.5 million Syrians. More than 50 percent of hospitals inside Syria have been damaged and about one-third are out of service. The National Hospital in Damascus has been completely destroyed, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. There are also shortages of food, fuel and medicines. The disbursement of aid is contingent on donor countries following through on their pledges.
The remaining funds are targeted to assist the ever growing number of refugees in neighboring countries. The number of Syrians who have fled to neighboring countries currently exceeds 750,000, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
At least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011 when the government started using lethal force to suppress anti-government protests.