U.N. to convene pledging conference for Syria aid
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations will convene a pledging conference in Kuwait next month to try to secure more than $1.5 billion to help save the lives of millions of Syrians facing a "rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation," the world body said on Friday.
The conference will take place on January 30 in Kuwait City and will be chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. press office said in a statement.
"The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, where more than 5 million people urgently need help," it said.
"As a consequence of this situation, over 2 million people have been displaced inside the country and more than 540,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries," the statement added.
Last week the United Nations appealed for $519.6 million to help 4 million people within Syria and $1 billion to meet the needs of up to 1 million Syrian refugees in five other countries until July 2013.
The statement said Ban believes the world "must do more to alleviate the suffering of millions of people in Syria and the neighboring countries."
"The Secretary-General urges all member states to be generous in their pledges and is thankful to those who continue to support the humanitarian efforts," it said.
The 21-month-old conflict in Syria has claimed more than 44,000 lives.
(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; editing by Christopher Wilson)
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