UN Seeks $6.5 Billion in Aid for Syria War Refugees

By:  Warren Mass
UN Seeks $6.5 Billion in Aid for Syria War Refugees

The United Nations announced on December 16 that it is asking for a total of $12.9 billion in aid, with $6.5 billion of that amount to go to refugees impacted by the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos announced the launch of the appeals in Geneva, saying, “As we look towards the fourth year of this appalling crisis, its brutal impact on millions of Syrians is testing the capacity of the international community to respond.” 

“This [$12.9 billion] is the largest amount we have ever had to request at the start of the year,” said Amos, noting that half of the funds being requested will be used in Syria and surrounding countries. “$6.5 billion of this will support our efforts in Syria and neighboring countries,” continued Amos. “This is the largest-ever appeal for a single crisis.”

News of the campaign was released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UN’s high Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, noted in a statement:

We’re facing a terrifying situation here where, by the end of 2014, substantially more of the population of Syria could be displaced or in need of humanitarian help than not. For now it remains of life-saving importance that the international humanitarian response is supported. Massive international solidarity is crucial.

The remainder of the $12.9 billion requested will be earmarked for relief efforts in the Philippines, the Central African Republic, Yemen, and elsewhere. While the crisis in the Philippines resulted from the massive devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, the Central African Republic has suffered from ongoing conflict between the ruling military regime and various rebel groups. Yemen is a chaotic state where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is based, and the United States has launched a series of drone attacks there to target al-Qaeda members.

More than 800,000 Syrian refugees have fled the embattled nation, with many living in tents in camps in Bekaa, eastern Lebanon. The area was recently buffeted by cold temperatures and snow brought by a massive winter storm named “Alexa.”

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Photo of Syrian refugees in a camp in Lebanon: AP Images

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