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      UN: Record $6.5 Billion Appeal For Syria

      Record appeal over half of 2014 UN funding plan, aims to provide humanitarian aid for Syrians in winter war conditions.
      By Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 12/18/2013, 5:01 PM

      UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos
      UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos
      Reuters

      The UN announced its funding plan for 2014 on Monday, in which it appealed for a record $6.5 billion in humanitarian aid to war-torn Syria. The appeal was declared by UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos at a Geneva conference.

      Over half of the $12.9 billion 2014 budget was taken up by the Syrian appeal, which constitutes the largest UN appeal for a single crisis. The $6.5 billion includes $2.3 billion for the 9.3 million people in Syria, as well as $4.2 billion for 4.1 million Syrian refugees, according to the UN figures.

      Syrians are suffering under harsh war conditions as the winter sets in, prompting the call for Syria's Arab neighbors to donate finances for food, drinking water, shelter and health services.

      "There are parts of the country where for 22-23 hours a day people aren't getting electricity. Fuel is scarce," said Amos, who was in Damascus on Saturday. She added "even if the violence were to stop tomorrow we would have to maintain help on the humanitarian front."

      Earlier in December, Amos reported on the "chilling" status of Syria's humanitarian crisis, saying 250,000 Syrians were unreachable to deliver aid.

      Only 62% of the $1.4 billion requested for the people in Syria by the UN in 2013 was received.

      Syria's currency dropped 80% since the outbreak of war in March 2011; the destruction of the water network has left 10 million people dependent on the UN to chlorinate water, reports Al Jazeera.

      According to opposition force estimates, the war, now in its third year and having left over 100,000 dead, has cost Syrian President Bashar Assad $25 billion.

      Regarding the Geneva II talks announced for January 22, which aim to bring a diplomatic end to the war, Amos said "obviously the expectations have to be modest in this point of time."

      On December 3, Israel announced it was sending humanitarian aid to Syria as well. The announcement came a day after Syrian soldiers opened fire on IDF forces at the Golan border and a mortar shell fell just outside a Golan town.