International donors have pledged $7.7bn in humanitarian aid for war-ravaged Syria at a virtual conference hosted by the United Nations and the European Union.
While less than the almost $10bn sought by UN agencies, the funding promises were higher than expected, given the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shortfalls in other aid appeals, notably for Yemen earlier this month.
Pledges came from countries including Germany, which offered 1.58 billion euros ($1.78bn), in what Berlin said was the single biggest country donation, and Qatar, which promised $100m.
The money pledged will be used to finance food, medical aid and schooling for the millions of Syrians displaced or forced into exile – many of whom are living with food insecurity.
Now in its tenth year, the war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions, sparking a major refugee exodus.
A new poll suggests the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic has not gone unnoticed around the world.
The poll, by the Alliance of Democracies Foundation asked 120,000 people in 53 countries to assess country responses to the pandemic.
Over 60 percent of respondents said China had handled it well, while only a third said the United States had.
During the past two months, Europe has succeeded at staying the virus, while the U.S. has not. The combined death count (about 121,000) in those 16 European countries, with a similar combine population as the U.S., is higher than in the U.S. (about 117,000). But at the current pace, the U.S. toll will be higher by next week.
[Foreign Policy / New York Times]
More than five years of conflict have left Yemenis “hanging on by a thread, their economy in tatters” and their institutions “facing near-collapse”, the chief of the UN told a virtual pledging conference, calling for a demonstration of solidarity with some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
“Four people out of every five [Yemenis] — 24 million people in all — need lifesaving aid in what remains the world’s largest humanitarian crisis”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Two million Yemeni children are suffering from acute malnutrition, which could stunt their growth and affect them throughout their lives”.
Moreover, since the start of the year, some 80,000 more people were forced from their homes, bringing the total displaced to almost four million. Cholera continues to threaten lives with 110,000 people contracting it so far this year; and recent floods have raised the risk of malaria and dengue fever. And then there’s COVID 19.
On Tuesday, international donors promised $1.35 billion in humanitarian aid to Yemen, U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told a pledging conference to help the war-torn country.
Fighting intensified across Yemen in 2015 between a Saudi-led coalition backing the internationally-recognized Government, and the Houthi armed movement.
[UN News / Reuters]