Jan. 15 - Western and Gulf Arab nations pledge $1.4 billion for U.N aid efforts in Syria, where an almost three-year-old civil war has left millions hungry, ailing or displaced. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Western and Gulf Arab nations pledged $1.4 billion on Wednesday for United Nations aid efforts in Syria, where an almost three-year-old civil war has left millions of people hungry, ailing or displaced. Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, promised $500 million in fresh assistance, while the United States announced a contribution of $380 million. Qatar and Saudi Arabia pledged $60 million each. The promises were announced at an international donor conference in Kuwait intended to help the United Nations reach a $6.5 billion aid target for the crisis in 2014. The pledge arose from an appeal for $6.5 billion launched last month that is the largest in U.N. history. The world body estimates that the conflict has reversed development gains in Syria by 35 years, with half its people now living in poverty. The $1.5 billion pledged at a similar meeting last year was used in Syria and surrounding countries to provide food rations, medicine, drinking water and shelters. The largest donations at that conference came from Gulf Arab governments, who have backed Syrian rebels trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad. But only 70 percent of the amount pledged last year has reached U.N. coffers, hinting at donor fatigue with no end to the bloodshed on the horizon.