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Charities pledge $400 million to Syria aid

An international donor conference to be held in Kuwait aims to help the U.N. raise $6.5 billion for Syria

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Non-governmental organizations have pledged a combined $400 million in humanitarian aid donations for Syria, the Gulf state’s official news agency KUNA said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes ahead of an international donor conference to be held in Kuwait, which opens on Wednesday and aims to help the United Nations raise $6.5 billion for Syria and neighboring countries in 2014.

Syria’s civil war has killed more than 100,000 people and forced some 2 million to flee abroad, according to the United Nations. Another 4 million have been displaced inside the country.

A similar donor conference held in Kuwait last year pledged $1.5 billion, mainly from Gulf Arab governments, to help provide food, drinking water, medicine and shelter for Syrians inside and outside of the country.

The conference is the biggest humanitarian aid appeal in the organization’s history.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who will chair the Kuwait conference, has expressed regret that not all of the money has been received, KUNA said last week.

The United Nations is experiencing “serious funding gaps,” he told KUNA in an interview about the nearly three-year conflict which has inflamed regional tensions.

“There seems to be some fatigue among donor countries because of this continuing violence,” he said.

(With Reuters)

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