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International Community Pledges $1.5B In Aid For Syria At U.N. Fundraising Conference

“In the largest ever fundraising conference in U.N. history, the international community pledged [Wednesday] more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for the people of Syria,” IRIN reports. Noting the conference was hosted by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, foreign minister of Kuwait, the news service writes, “The largest donors were the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $300 million), the United States ($155 million) and the European Union ($136 million), though donors from as far as Iran, China and Botswana also made contributions.”

“The conference represented a big shift in the focus of major international players, who for months, aid workers argued, were more focused on political and security aspects of the conflict, while appeals to address its humanitarian impact went unheeded,” according to IRIN, which notes, “Within Syria, one quarter of schools and one third of public hospitals are not functioning and 40 percent of ambulances have been damaged. There are shortages of bread and medicine, and hundreds of thousands of already vulnerable Palestinian refugees are now further in need” (1/30). In related news, Devex’s “Development Newswire” discusses “concerns about an unequal distribution of aid within the country,” citing a statement released by Médecins Sans Frontières on Tuesday (Ravelo, 1/30).