U.N.: Syria donors pledge $3.8 billion at crisis meeting

The amount is almost equal to all the pledges made at the previous two conferences totaling $3.9 billion

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Donor nations meeting in Kuwait have pledged $3.8 billion in humanitarian aid for war-torn Syria, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The total pledges made are $3.8 billion ... These are very generous pledges,” Ban told the closing session of the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria.

The amount is almost equal to all the pledges made at the previous two conferences totaling $3.9 billion.

Earlier on Tuesday, the European Union announced a pledge of nearly 1.1 billion euros (almost $1.2 billion) in humanitarian aid for Syria.

"The needs are overwhelming and an extraordinary effort is needed by the wider donor community to mobilize significant funding," EU aid commissioner Christos Stylianides said in a statement.

The United States pledged $507 million towards addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the international summit.

Saudi Arabia said it was providing an additional $60 million. Earlier, summit host Kuwait pledged $500 million towards the U.N.-backed humanitarian appeal.

The major conference aims to raise billions of dollars with experts warning of a “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding in the war-torn country.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon chaired the third International Pledging Conference for Syria.

At the first and second conferences, also hosted by Kuwait, pledges of $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion were made.

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.

With the conflict now in its fifth year, almost half of all Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Last year was the deadliest yet in the conflict, with at least 76,000 people killed out of a total of more than 215,000 since it began in March 2011 with peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.

Close to 850,000 people have also been wounded.

[With AFP and Reuters]

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