Stressing the gravity of the situation, United Nations Security General Ban Ki-moon told the media that it was decided in the meeting to raise $8.4 billion (7.9 billion euros) this year for Syrian aid efforts. He said that every four out of five Syrians are living under poverty.
“I am pleased to announce the pledging of $500 million from Kuwait’s government and private sectors to support the humanitarian efforts in Syria,” said Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, during the meeting.
Emir said “We are meeting here to face the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in the modern history of mankind, calling on global powers to find a political solution to a civil war now in its fifth year”.
He urged the UN Security Council, especially the five permanent members, to “abandon differences and find a political solution to the destructive conflict”.
While addressing in the meeting Ban said “The Syrian people are victims of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, Four out of five Syrians live in poverty, misery and deprivation. The country has lost nearly four decades of human development.”
Kuwait has hosted a donor conference for Syrians in each of the last two years, generating several billion dollars worth of pledges.
The conference held on Tuesday, which was attended by representatives from nearly 80 countries, and charitable organizations, which pledged a total of $506 million.
UN humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos said the donor response at Tuesday’s conference “needs to be comprehensive”.
The UN has complained that not all previous pledges for aid had translated into funding.
Amos said the situation had deteriorated in Syria, with no reduction in violence and with children particularly badly affected.
Ban said in a report last week that the war had forced around 7.6 million people to leave their homes in Syria, while another 3.9 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
“Every day brings more death, displacement and destruction,” the report said.
Almost half of all Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Of the $8.4 billion needed, $5.5 billion is for refugees and $2.9 billion for people still inside Syria.
On Monday, international aid agency Oxfam criticised the international response to the Syrian crisis, saying money pledged was woefully inadequate.
Last year was the deadliest yet in the conflict, with at least 76,000 people killed out of a total of more than 215,000 since the it began in March 2011 with peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.