Supporting Syria Conference Presents 'Reality Check' of Humanitarian Crisis

© AP PhotoIn this Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 photo, people wait to leave the besieged town of Madaya, northwest of Damascus, Syria. Aid convoys reached three besieged villages on Monday — Madaya, near Damascus, where about 400 people need to be evacuated immediately to receive life-saving treatment for medical conditions, malnourishment and starvation, and the Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya in northern Syria
In this Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 photo, people wait to leave the besieged town of Madaya, northwest of Damascus, Syria. Aid convoys reached three besieged villages on Monday — Madaya, near Damascus, where about 400 people need to be evacuated immediately to receive life-saving treatment for medical conditions, malnourishment and starvation, and the Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya in northern Syria - Sputnik International
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Simon Ingram, the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa chief of communication said that the world has really started to recognize the problem of Syrian crisis, has a reality check on a full scale of the issue and the threat that it poses not for the region but beyond.

General view of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, February 1, 2016 - Sputnik International
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LONDON (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova – The Supporting Syria and the Region donor conference underway in London has for the first time made the world realize the dire humanitarian crisis in the Arab republic, the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa chief of communication told Sputnik on Thursday.

"I think that for the first time, the world has really started to recognize the problem, has a reality check on a full scale of the Syrian crisis and the threat that it poses not for the region but beyond," Simon Ingram said.

Based on speeches made at the donors conference so far, there emerged a realization that "a different level of response is needed."

"This time we are in a new, different situation," Ingram stressed.

Syrian army soldiers, members of security services and civilians inspect the site of two bomb explosions in the Syrian city of Homs, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on December 28, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Germany earmarked $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid this year, the United Kingdom pledged $750 million, and Norway $282 million, among other conference participants. Italy pledged $400 million, Japan $350 million, the United Arab Emirates $137 million, Denmark $100 million, Finland $28 million.

European Council President Donald Tusk said total EU commitment would exceed $3.3 billion this year, while US State Secretary John Kerry said Washington would provide $601 million in additional assistance to Syria and $290 million in development assistance to Jordan and Lebanon.

The United Kingdom urged participants to double their contributions to humanitarian aid ahead of the fundraising event to meet the United Nation’s appeal for $7.73 billion. Downing Street pointed out that, last year, only $3.3 billion of the requested $8.4 billion was donated.

British Prime Minister David Cameron - Sputnik International
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UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said last year’s humanitarian appeal generated half of what was needed.

The 2016 Supporting Syria and the Region conference is co-hosted by the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations. Its stated aim is to raise "significant new funding" for short- and long-term humanitarian support for the Arab republic, which has been ravaged by a nearly five-year civil war.

According to the UN refugee agency, 13.5 million Syrians are displaced inside the conflict-torn Arab republic, while about 4.6 million people fled the country, mostly to neighboring states.

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