By the end of the day today we will have a good sense of how much the international community really cares about Syrians suffering from conflict.
Leaders from the around the world are in Kuwait for a one-day pledging conference for the Syria humanitarian response. The needs are staggering. More than 9 million people need assistance, including 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria and 2.2 million who fled to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. The UN projects that number to increase to 13 million people by the end of the year.
The UN is calling for $6.5 billion to support humanitarian efforts that provide basic assistance to people affected by this conflict. These funds help provide food, medicine, shelter and other basic humanitarian services for people uprooted by conflict. (To give you a sense of how bad things have gotten in Syria, last year the same pledging conference asked for only $1.5 billion. )
The $6.5 billion appeal is record-setting. Never before has the United Nations faced such a costly humanitarian crisis. Whether or not that $6.5 billion is raised is a good proxy for how much the international community cares about the suffering of Syrian people. If an amount less than $6.5 billion is raised, it means that refugee children will go without medicine, or people displaced inside Syria may starve.
Today, in Kuwait, we will see if these countries who profess to care so deeply about the plight of the Syrian people are willing to put their money where their mouth is.