Donor meeting aims to raise $12.9b for Syrians

Abdallah, 12, and Dania, 10 - whose school in Aleppo, Syria, was bombed - sitting amid a mock-up of a destroyed classroom outside the Houses of Parliament in London yesterday. The photo-call was organised by Save The Children to highlight the need fo
Abdallah, 12, and Dania, 10 - whose school in Aleppo, Syria, was bombed - sitting amid a mock-up of a destroyed classroom outside the Houses of Parliament in London yesterday. The photo-call was organised by Save The Children to highlight the need for education for refugee children ahead of the London Syria Conference today.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • World leaders gather in London today to try to raise US$9 billion (S$12.9 billion) for the millions of Syrians hit by the country's civil war and a refugee crisis spanning Europe and the Middle East.

The donor conference, the fourth of its kind, hopes to meet the United Nations' demand for US$7.73 billion to help in Syria, plus US$1.23 billion as assistance for countries in the region affected by the crisis.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will host more than 70 international leaders at the summit. They include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The organisers of the conference want the aid to be used for work and education opportunities for Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, rather than for food handouts, reported The Guardian.

The conference, which opens less than a week after the start of a Syrian peace summit in Geneva, will focus heavily on education, highlighting that 700,000 refugee children lack access to schooling.

To achieve the conference's objectives, donors will need to show more generosity than they did last year, when the UN and its agencies received only US$3.3 billion of the promised US$8.4 billion.

Britain, Germany and Norway have called for more to be done. Mr Cameron's office said in a statement that the three agreed last month "that all countries in attendance should look to at least double their 2015 financial contribution to the crisis".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Donor meeting aims to raise $12.9b for Syrians'. Print Edition | Subscribe