The European Union announced at the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait that it would significantly increase humanitarian assistance for the war-torn country. The EU and its Member States have together promised to provide almost €1.1 billion, which is about twice more than what was promised at the 2014 conference. Last year, the EU and its Member States pledged €550 million, which was the biggest contribution accounting for a third of the overall pledge. About half of this year’s sum will be designated for humanitarian purposes, stabilization and early recovery.
Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, commented that “the magnitude of the Syria crisis is testing the capacities of the entire international aid system. The needs are overwhelming and an extraordinary effort is needed by the wider donor community to mobilize significant funding. With our substantial contribution, the European Union – Commission and the Member States – shoulders its responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.” The Commissioner further described the Syrian conflict as “the biggest humanitarian tragedy since World War II”, which, in his opinion, can be only alleviated “through global partnerships, including from the Arab world, and the shared solidary that binds us”. He then concluded by reminding his fellow Europeans that “The Syrian people are counting on us.”
Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, almost 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes including almost 4 million who fled to neighboring countries. Overall, more than 12 million people are in need of humanitarian aid inside Syria alone, the number that has increased by 30 percent compared to this time last year. The EU and its Member States have so far provided about €3.35 billion. The block has also recently established the “Madad” Trust Fund for Syria, which aims to help facilitate the delivery of assistance for resilience and recovery activities in Syria and its neighboring countries.