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World must do more to aid Syrians

By Rose Caldwell

Published 04/02/2016

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

David Cameron is co-hosting a conference in London today attended by world leaders to raise new funding to meet the needs of all those affected by the Syria crisis. The suffering is immense - 13.5 million Syrians urgently need our help.

But while the crisis deepens every day the UN humanitarian appeal to fund vital support such as food, medicine and clean water - simple things most of us take for granted - is hugely underfunded.

Today's conference isn't the first of its kind; there have been several in the last few years and the UK has led the way by providing significant financial aid.

However, other donor governments have failed to honour past pledges and funding fulfilment for appeals is declining.

More than a third of pledged funds had not been confirmed by the end of 2015. This calls into question the commitment of global leaders to support those affected by the conflict.

No doubt we will see money pledged this week, but if it isn't quickly turned into hard cash in the right places the need inside Syria and in neighbouring countries will continue to grow.

The result? Next year we will need another conference and we will need more money. More importantly, the suffering of civilians will have been prolonged.

As co-host, David Cameron needs to ensure a framework is developed that will hold donor governments to account for their commitments. After five years of war, the innocent people inside Syria and those who have sought refuge elsewhere deserve more than empty promises.

Concern Worldwide is calling for funds to be pledged that match the scale of need and that they are made available within eight weeks.

Generations of Syrians are being failed. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the war in Syria the international community can't keep making the same mistakes.

If they won't step up their efforts to find a peaceful end to the war, the very least they can do is help to provide the necessary funding to ease some of the suffering it has created.

Rose Caldwell is executive director of Concern Worldwide UK

Belfast Telegraph

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