Ireland pledges €4.7m for Syria
Ireland has pledged €4.7 million to help fund humanitarian efforts for millions of Syrians affected by nearly two years of conflict.
The contribution was made at a UN donor conference in Kuwait today seeking pledges of $1.5 billion (€1.1bn)of aid.
Speaking at the conference Minister of State for Development Joe Costello said the donation “will support the provision of life saving humanitarian supplies and essential services such as health and education”
In its presidency of the EU, Ireland was “working closely with member states to encourage a fast, robust and coordinated response to the humanitarian needs in Syria and the region,” Mr Costello said.
Mr Costello said at least 60,000 people had been killed since the violence began in March 2011, with 2 million people displaced and 4 million Syrians in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
The donation brought the State’s total contribution to the relief effort in the region to over €7 million. Ireland was also a core funder to several important actors in the Syria response such as key UN agencies, he said.
The conference represented an opportunity for the international community to show its “commitment to and solidarity with the people of Syria”, he said.
Speaking at the conference UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to all combatants in Syria's civil war to stop fighting "in the name of humanity".
"I appeal to all sides and particularly the Syrian government, to stop the killing ... in the name of humanity, stop the killing, stop the violence."
The world body warned earlier this week said that without more money it would not be able to help millions of Syrians. It set a target of $1bn to assist Syria's neighbours, who are sheltering 700,000 registered refugees with another $500 million to bankroll humanitarian work for 4 million Syrians inside the country
Kuwait's emir pledged today give $300 million (€220m) to the fund.
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told the meeting that "horrifying reports" of violence had raised questions over the future of Syria and aid efforts had to be redoubled.
"We have every reason to be optimistic that there will a very good presence and new pledges that will be coming up at this conference," Robert Watkins, UN humanitarian coordinator in Lebanon said.
US President Barack Obama has announced an additional $155 million in humanitarian aid for Syria, bringing the total US. contribution to some $365 million.
Additional reporting Reuters