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NGO Oxfam has said the amount fell short of what is actually needed.
International donors have pledged Tuesday US$7.7 billion to face the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees, as the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis are intensifying the situation in the war-torn country.
European Union Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic announced the pledge at the end of a virtual conference organized by the EU and the United Nations.
“We have today expressed solidarity with the Syrian people, not only with words but with concrete pledges of support that will make a difference for millions of people,” Lenarcic said as pledges came from countries including Germany, which offered 1.58 billion euros (US$1.78bn), and Qatar, which promised US$100m.
The money will be used to finance food, medical aid, and schooling for the millions of displaced or forced into exile Syrians.
Yet, NGO Oxfam said the amount fell short of what is actually needed.
“The pledges made by donor governments are simply not enough to address the Syrian crisis with 1 million people at risk of starvation inside the country, and Covid-19 and an economic downturn hitting refugees and host communities in neighboring countries hard," said Oxfam's Middle East and North Africa regional director Marta Lorenzo.
U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock has said about US$10 billion was needed and that raising $5.5 billion “would not be a bad outcome.”
"We recognize that the circumstances are very unusual, it is a difficult moment in every country to find the resources necessary to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people," Lowcock said after the conference.
The war in Syria has killed more than 400,000 people and led to a refugee crisis that has destabilized neighboring countries.
Around 11 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, some nine million don’t have enough to eat, and more than half of the population is unemployed.
Adding to the hardship, an economic crisis and COVID-19 lockdown have pushed food prices more than 200 percent higher in less than a year, according to the World Food Programme.