UNICEF appeals for $1.1 bln for Syria, neighboring countries
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday launched a $1.1 bln fundraising drive. one of its largest, to provide relief in Syria and neighboring countries including Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, the agency said.
“We launched a $1.1 billion appeal for UNICEF for its Syria operations which includes our response to help children impacted by the crisis inside Syria and in neighboring countries,” UNICEF spokeswoman Juliet Toma told Al Arabiya News.
Toma said that the U.N. agency faces a huge funding shortfall. “We have a huge gap [in funds], this is one of the biggest appeals in the history of UNICEF.”
In 2015, UNICEF appealed for $900 mln – a target that fell $242 million short.
“Our needs [have] continued to grow and the number of children in need continues to increase,” she said. “Right now we have more than 8 million Syrian children who need assistance.”
The United Nations as a whole launched a record humanitarian appeal on Monday, asking for $20.1 billion to help 87 million people in 37 national and regional crises.
“The overall picture is bleak,” U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien told a news conference in Geneva.
“Of course it is a lot of money but if you compare with military expenditure or bailouts of the financial system it’s perfectly affordable,” said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.