U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power led the U.S. Delegation to the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria today. The pledging conference hosted and sponsored by the State of Kuwait, raised financial resources to respond to humanitarian needs in Syria and neighboring countries resulting from the ongoing conflict.
“More than four years after the conflict began; people across Syria are struggling to survive in a state of perpetual siege. We all know the numbers. Half of Syria’s pre-war population has been displaced. More than 12.2 million people inside Syria now need humanitarian assistance, including 5.6 million children. And beyond Syria’s borders, there are nearly four million Syrian refugees – more than the entire population of the country of Kuwait,” Ambassador Power noted in remarks at the pledging conference.
Ambassador Power highlighted the growing humanitarian needs in Syria and neighboring countries; and the need for more countries to step up and support the United Nation’s $8.4 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria this year -- the largest in history. “Countries must close the widening gap between what we are providing and what the Syrian people desperately need,” she urged.
Ambassador Power continued, “International humanitarian organizations and their partners in Syria are risking their lives to try to get help to those who need it most. Yet their courage and innovation is not enough. Even as the region is convulsed by many other serious challenges, we must never grow used to the suffering of the Syrian people. No matter what else is going on, addressing the plight of Syrians must remain at the top of our agenda.”
Ambassador Power announced that the United States will provide nearly $508 million in additional life-saving assistance to benefit those affected by the war in Syria. “We are directing this aid to help meet Syrians’ immediate needs, such as treating more than 2 million patients in U.S.-supported hospitals and clinics, and feeding nearly 7 million people. And today’s pledge comes on top of the substantial bilateral assistance we are giving to Syria’s generous neighbors, who are hosting millions of refugees who are placing a huge strain on overstretched health and education systems,” she said. This is the largest announcement of funding the United States has made for this humanitarian crisis, which demonstrates the unprecedented magnitude of suffering and urgent needs.
Ambassador Power commended the generosity of Syria’s neighbors in taking in refugees, and strongly urged them to keep their borders open, saying “Every nation has a legitimate interest in screening the people entering its territory; at the same time, all must work to ease restrictions that prevent the most vulnerable from reaching a refuge. To relieve the burden on Syria’s neighbors, other countries – including the United States – must welcome displaced Syrians in greater numbers.”
“Providing more aid is not enough,” said Ambassador Power, “we must ensure that the Asad regime stops blocking and delaying it.”
Ambassador Power underscored that the only way out of this escalating spiral of violence is a political solution. She concluded, “…Our true partners in Syria… are the people who most need immediate assistance and upon whose behalf we must press, relentlessly and with immense urgency, to find a political solution – no matter how elusive it may seem at times.”
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