Kuwait, U.S. pledge $880 million in aid to conflict victims

AP

Kuwait’s emir said Wednesday that the gulf nation is pledging $500 million to alleviate the suffering of Syrians affected by the country’s civil war.

Sheik Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah made the announcement at the start of an international fundraising conference in Kuwait.

Last year’s donor conference in Kuwait raised more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid pledges. Much of that came from Western-allied Persian Gulf states. Humanitarian needs have escalated dramatically since a similar donor conference in the oil-rich gulf nation last January.

The United States also pledged funds to the conflict-hit nation, announcing $380 million in additional aid to victims of the bloody civil war, much of it designated for children in need of health care, education and emotional counseling. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the new funding brings America’s humanitarian aid contribution to $1.7 billion since the war began nearly three years ago.

Half of the money — $177 million — will go to U.N. programs for victims still in Syria. The rest is for neighboring nations that have taken in an estimated 2.3 million refugees.