Kuwait pledges $500 million in Syria aid at donor conference

Photo: Kuwait pledges $500 million in Syria aid at donor conference / Arab World

Kuwait's emir promised $500 million on Wednesday for U.N. humanitarian efforts in Syria, devastated by almost three years of civil war, Reuters reported.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah made the pledge at an international donor conference intended to help the world body reach a $6.5 billion aid target for the crisis in 2014.

The appeal launched last month is the largest in the history of the United Nations, which estimates that the conflict has rolled back human development gains in Syria by 35 years, with half the population now living in poverty.

The $1.5 billion pledged via the United Nations at a similar meeting last year in Kuwait was used in Syria and surrounding countries to provide food rations, medicine, drinking water and shelters. The largest donations at that conference came from Gulf Arab governments.

Overall, only 70 percent of all of the crisis funding needed for Syria in 2013 has been received by the United Nations, according to the body's Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is chairing the Kuwait conference, has expressed regret that not all of promised donations have been received from the last meeting, with 20-30 percent still lacking.

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