Donor nations on Thursday promised $6 billion this year and another $5 billion by 2020 to help besieged and displaced Syrians as world leaders gathered in London for a conference to tackle the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with Turkey reporting a new exodus of tens of thousands fleeing air strikes.
The UN chief warned conditions in parts of Syria had become “close to hell.
With Syria’s five-year-old civil war raging and another attempt at peace negotiations called off in Geneva after just a few days, the conference will aim to address the needs of some 6 million people displaced within Syria and more than 4 million refugees in other countries.
“Today has been and is a day of hope, a day about saving lives, a day about building futures, a day about giving people the chance of a future, the chance of a life,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said.
The United States added another $890 million to the Syrian humanitarian aid effort Thursday, pledging increased support for refugee aid.
Addressing the summit, US Secretary of State Kerry said $600 million (537 million euros) in new funding would go on urgent aid to refugees and beleaguered populations in and around Syria.
Another $290 million will go on development assistance for schooling for refugee children in Jordan and Lebanon.
“The United States has provided over $4.5 billion to help Syrian refugees and those displaced within Syria, and I’m proud that that makes us the largest single external donor in the world,” Kerry said.
The US envoy urged the other countries represented in London to increase their own contributions to help deal with what he said was a “staggering” refugee crisis.
“By helping refugees, we remind ourselves of who we are, what we are against, and what we are for,” he said.
Underlining the desperate situation on the ground in Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the meeting that tens of thousands of Syrians were on the move toward his country to escape aerial bombardments on the city of Aleppo.
“Sixty to seventy thousand people in the camps in north Aleppo are moving toward Turkey. My mind is not now in London, but on our border – how to relocate these new people coming from Syria?” he said. “Three hundred thousand people living in Aleppo are ready to move toward Turkey.”
Turkey is already hosting more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees. Jordan and Lebanon are the other countries bearing the brunt of the Syrian refugee exodus.
“Looking into the eyes of my people, and seeing the hardship and distress they carry, I must tell you we have reached our limit,” said Jordan’s King Abdullah. Read More