World leaders hail $11 billion aid package to help Syrian refugees

World hails aid to Syria

Amid the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, the international community has pledged around $11 billion to help the people of Syria, who were displaced due to the ongoing conflict in the strife-torn country. These countries have been facing an influx of refugees fleeing the devastating conflict in Syria.

At an international conference in London on February 4, it was announced that close to $11bn in aid was pledged by donors, along with around $40bn in loans to support the creation of jobs and stimulate the economies of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.   Between the three countries, they have taken in more than three million refugees.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who hosted the conference along with the leaders of Kuwait, Norway, Germany, and the United Nations, underlined that aid package was “the largest amount of money ever raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis”.

The donors pledged up to $6bn for 2016, and an additional $5bn in pledged support up to 2020. The figure for 2016, however, is still well short of the target for $9bn set by the UN and the countries most affected by the refugee crisis. International  organisations providing aid such as Oxfam and Save the Children welcomed the new pledges, but said humanitarian organisations would still be short of what was “urgently needed”.

The international humanitarian efforts to protect people in Syria and refugees in neighbouring have been underfunded in previous years. Mr Cameron said the new pledges would help address the shortfall. He also said that it would “bolster stability in the region” and help to stem the flow of refugees to Europe. Outside the Middle East, Europe has received the maximum number of refugees fleeing the conflict hit countries.

Expressing optimism on the usage of these funds, Mr Cameron said that the funding would see 1 million children currently not in school gaining access to education, while one million jobs could be created by economic stimulus packages. Explaining the seriousness of the situation, former British  Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that only “an initiative as ambitious as the postwar Marshall plan” would be enough to address a crisis that has seen 12 million people displaced.

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