KUWAIT (January 15, 2014) — In a significant step toward meeting the overwhelming humanitarian need in Syria and neighboring countries, donors pledged an estimated $2.4 billion at the Kuwait conference. The United Nations is requesting a total of $6.5 billion for its response in 2014. This funding will help to provide relief for the more than 14 million people affected by this crisis. Although there is more than $4 billion remaining to be raised and some distance still to go, this conference has clearly been a step in the right direction.
Speaking at the conference, World Vision UK CEO Justin Byworth said: “It is our moral imperative to meet the humanitarian needs of the people affected by this crisis, and in particular of the seven million children who urgently require our assistance. I was delighted to hear the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon welcome the No Lost Generation initiative from UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children and World Vision to address the specific needs of children and to meet their immediate and long-term needs.
"When I was in Lebanon recently, I witnessed first-hand the impact that life-saving assistance can make, but also the tragedies that occur when the scale of the crisis outpaces the scale of our response. Today I have seen strong commitments from world leaders to tackle the immense suffering, and I look forward to working with them to make sure that the pledges today make a difference for children tomorrow.”
The $6.5 billion requested by the UN for 2014 is the largest appeal ever issued, and comes as the crisis approaches its fourth year. For the pledged funds to have maximum impact, it is essential that Syrian families are given access to aid by all parties to the conflict, and that humanitarian workers are free to provide assistance impartially and independently.
World Vision has assisted approximately 300,000 people affected by the Syrian conflict with food, water and sanitation, temporary education, and healthcare in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. But far more needs to be done if we are to prevent millions of children from losing out on a future. The funds pledged at this conference will be a vital step toward that goal.
The humanitarian catastrophe in Syria is growing, and more and sustained assistance is clearly needed, but it remains equally clear that emergency assistance alone can only alleviate suffering, not stop it. An inclusive peace process that can lead to a negotiated settlement is the best hope for Syria, to make sure that the affected children do not grow up as a lost generation.
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