International donors on Thursday (March 14th) pledged nearly $7 billion in aid for 2019 for civilians caught up in Syria's war, but the total fell short of what the UN says is needed, AFP reported.
EU Humanitarian Commissioner Christos Stylianides announced the total at the end of a three-day conference of 80 countries and organisations in Brussels, on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the start of the conflict.
The EU led the pledges with two billion euros ($2.26 billion), but the conference failed to drum up the $9 billion the UN said was needed to help the millions of Syrians forced to flee the country as well as those facing a humanitarian crisis at home.
European powers reiterated that progress on a UN led peace process must come before they will release funds to rebuild Syria.
Despite the shortfall, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said he was "very pleased with the outcome" but stressed that only a political solution could end the misery endured by Syrians as a result of the war.
Before the conference, the UN estimated that $5.5 billion was needed to help the approximately 5.6 million Syrians forced to flee their country, mostly to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.
A further $3.3 billion is needed for populations inside Syria.
The UN describes the crisis in Syria as "staggering", with 11.7 million people in need of some form of humanitarian aid, 6.2 million people internally displaced and 83% of Syrians living below the poverty line.
The conference raised pledges of a further $2.4 billion for humanitarian, resilience and development activities for the Syria crisis response in 2020 and beyond, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.