KUWAIT CITY: Charity organisations pledged $400 million (292 million euros) Tuesday to help alleviate the humanitarian plight of Syrians affected by their country's civil war, participants at a meeting of charitable NGOs said.
Kuwait's International Islamic Charitable Organisation said Kuwaiti charities pledged $142 million, while dozens of NGOs attending the meeting promised the rest.
The funds will target people inside and outside Syria, where more than 130,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during the 34-month conflict, IICO said in a statement cited by the KUNA news agency.
At a similar meeting last year, NGOs pledged $182 million for Syrian refugees.
Tuesday's gathering came a day before the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, which aims to raise $6.5 billion for more than 13.4 million Syrians facing extreme conditions inside the country and in neighbouring nations.
The United Nations has described the appeal as the largest ever in its history for a single humanitarian emergency.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will chair the one-day ministerial-level meeting, which will be opened by Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Around 69 countries and 24 international organisations are attending.
The UN has said it needs $2.3 billion to support 9.3 million people inside Syria and $4.2 billion for refugees, expected to nearly double to 4.1 million by year's end.
Ahead of his arrival in Kuwait, Ban warned that the humanitarian situation in Syria has been deteriorating and called on donor nations to help meet the target.
At the first donors conference in Kuwait last January, participating nations pledge $1.5 billion, 75 percent of which was delivered, according to a Kuwaiti official.
Aid agencies say 10.5 million Syrians are food insecure or severely food insecure, over a million children under five suffer from acute or severe malnutrition, about half the population has no access to adequate water sources or sanitation facilities and 8.6 million have insufficient access to health care.
Lebanon is currently hosting the largest number of refugees with 905,000, followed by Jordan with 575,000, Turkey 562,000, Iraq 216,000 and Egypt 145,000.
By the end of 2014, these numbers are estimated to rise to 1.65 million in Lebanon, 800,000 in Jordan, 1.0 million in Turkey, 400,000 in Iraq and 250,000 in Egypt.