|nder-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos with Kuwaiti Permanent Representative Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi
UNITED NATIONS, April 18 (KUNA) -- Under-Secretary-General and Emergency
Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, late Wednesday thanked His Highness the Amir
of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti Government, and
Kuwaiti people for fulfilling their pledge at the Kuwait Donor Conference last
January and contributing generously to UN Agencies which "desperately" need
the funds to boost their humanitarian operations in Syria and neighbouring
states from now until June.
"I particularly want to thank the Amir, the members of the government, the
people of Kuwait who have been enormously supportive of what the Amir and the
government are doing," Amos told KUNA following a meeting with Kuwaiti
Permanent Representative Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi. The latter had
handed Amos a check for ten million dollars for the Emergency Response Fund in
Syria which is managed by her office.
"I am delighted that the commitment that the Kuwait Government made at the
International Pledging Conference on the Syrian humanitarian crisis on January
30 has now determined how that money will be spent," she added.
She noted that the government divided the USD 300 million across the number
of UN Agencies, and "we are very pleased that they recognized the importance
of multi-lateral work, especially that all the agencies desperately need this
Earlier this week, Ambassador Al-Otaibi handed a USD 53 million-check to
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Yoka Brandt, a USD 15 million-check to the
Director of UNRWA New York Office Richard Wright, and a USD 2 million-check to
the Administrator of the UN Development Programme Helen Clark.
The total amount distributed to UN agencies in New York is USD 80 million.
The remaining USD 220 million are allocated to the various UN agencies in
Geneva, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health
Organisation (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and others.
"We were on a point where a number of agencies were beginning to say that
in the next couple of months they would have to look very seriously at cutting
back their operations because of lack of funding," Amos noted.
"So the announcement of the way the money has been divided and the fact
that we have now received our checks is a huge boost for our operations," she
added with relief.
Amos also thanked Ambassador Al-Otaibi and his counterpart in Geneva
Ambassador Dharar Razouqui and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for
Humanitarian Issues to Kuwait Abdallah Al-Ma'atoug who played such a "crucial
role in helping us to get to this point."
She said that with the Kuwaiti contribution, the money received by her
office has now jumped from 30 to 50 percent of the USD 1.5 billion pledged at
the Kuwait Conference, adding that her office has just made a revision to the
figures of the people who need assistance.
Last year, she explained, "we were talking about four million people in
urgent need inside of Syria, and one million refugees. Those figures have gone
up significantly since then. Now there are 4.5 million people displaced inside
the country and more than 1.5 million refugees," noting that the numbers keep
Consequently, Amos said her office has revised the appeal. "It is a huge
amount of money to expect governments to come up with." She would not say how
much the appeal is now for and by how much it has been increased.
"It's very difficult to tell, because we have now to take the figures and
the assessments of those needs, look at the different sectors, the cost to
meet those needs in different sectors, and then come up with a figure that we
will launch," she said.
"That's why we are pushing so hard to find a political solution to the
crisis in Syria," she insisted. "It's the only thing that is going to bring
this kind of stability that the people of Syria want."
Earlier this week, Amos and World Food Programme Executive Director
Ertharin Cousin, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres , UNICEF
Executive Director Anthony Lake, and World Health Organization
Director-General Margaret Chan signed an appeal to political leaders to meet
their responsibility to the people of Syria and to the future of the region.
"Our appeal today is not for more resources, needed as they are. We are
appealing for something more important than funds. To all involved in this
brutal conflict and to all governments that can influence them," the statement
Amos and Guterres are scheduled to brief the Security Council later today
on the humanitarian situation in Syria and in neighbouring countries. (end)
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