Funding for Syrians 'a matter of shame'

Laurent Fabius, minister for foreign affairs of France and president of the United Nations security council for the month of August. Photo by: Mark Garten / U.N.

The United Kingdom and France pledged new humanitarian aid for Syrians during a press conference at the U.N. Security Council meeting Thursday (Aug. 30), but both believe the money falls short of the growing humanitarian needs in and outside the country.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague pledged 2 million pounds for lifesaving medical aid to people inside Syria, and 1 million pounds ($3.2 million) for clinical care and counselling of refugees in Jordan, including women victims of sexual violence. The money, as in the past, will be channeled to humanitarian relief agencies in Syria and nongovernmental organizations in Jordan.

France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also announced an additional €5 million ($6.3 million) to its €20 million pledge for Syrians. Details on where the money will be spent or who will receive it, however, are still unknown.

Both recognize the growing needs of Syrians. And while Hague had voiced his reservations on the “safe zone” in Syria that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu proposed, he urged the members of the council to “call on all parties to allow the U.N. and humanitarian agencies full access to areas of need inside Syria.”

Hague and Fabius also called on donors to increase their contributions for Syrians and for the countries harboring Syrian refugees. Hague even proposed a meeting among development ministers and U.N. agencies to find ways to up donations. He said the $193 million appeal by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in June has been “met adequately,” but the needs of the Syrian people have “grown exponentially.”

“This should be a matter of shame,” he said in his official statement.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, who spoke at the meeting, identified the two main issues the international community needed to address to “meet the humanitarian pressure.” One is humanitarian access. The other, funding.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.