The United Nations urged international donors to pledge up to $ 10 billion today, Tuesday, to help Syrians fleeing the civil war in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and said the need for humanitarian support was not this large before..
And at the fifth annual conference for the prevention of Syrian refugees from famine, the event hosted by the European Union requested 4.2 billion dollars for people inside Syria and 5.8 billion dollars for refugees and host countries in the Middle East..
About 24 million are in need of basic aid, an increase of four million over the past year and the highest number so far in 2011.
“I invite you to help us meet the growing needs and increase your financial and humanitarian commitments,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message.
He added, “The Syrian economy has been devastated and the repercussions of Covid-19 are now ravaging it, which has made matters worse. Almost half of families have lost their source of income. Nine out of ten Syrians live in poverty.”
Germany pledged 1.738 billion euros ($ 2.04 billion), the most in four years. The support of the European Union, which comes from its common budget separately from its members, has remained stable at 560 million euros. Other pledges came throughout the day, including $ 100 million from Qatar and nearly $ 600 million from the United States.
Britain pledged to provide 205 million pounds ($ 281.16 million), but the head of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, said that this amount is less than the 300 million pounds Britain pledged last year, and urged London to provide more..
The total amount of pledges is expected to be announced later on Tuesday.
Late Monday evening, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for the Syrian borders to remain open to allow unimpeded access and free flow of aid, and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell echoed the call..
“It is imperative that aid reaches those who need it. It is vitally important that humanitarian aid be provided to these people,” Borrell said.
The fighting between the Syrian army and opposition fighters has subsided since an agreement ended a year ago with a bombing campaign led by Russia that displaced more than a million people, but Russian air strikes, along with the Iranian-backed Syrian army, continue to attack opposition fighters’ positions..
In a separate statement today, Tuesday, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement called on international donors to help rebuild the country, particularly to repair health, water and electricity services..
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, urged world powers to reach a peace agreement, otherwise they will face more donor conferences for Syria. “The final responsibility rests with the parties to the conflict,” he said.
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