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SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
09:24 PM Beirut time
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Kuwait makes $300 million Syrian aid contribution
Syrian refugee children ride a truck in Western Bekaa, Friday, March 1, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
Syrian refugee children ride a truck in Western Bekaa, Friday, March 1, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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BEIRUT: Kuwait has offered $300 million to help Syrian refugees in the region, a contribution that will do much to ease dire aid budget shortfalls in Lebanon, United Nations officials said Wednesday.

The U.N. warned last week that budget shortages would force a cutback of a number of basic aid services, including food aid and health care.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees official Ninette Kelley said the Kuwait contribution would help preserve or restore some of those programs.

“The Kuwaiti contribution has come at a critical time when U.N. agencies are increasingly carrying a very heavy burden with dwindling resources,” she said in a press release.

Before Wednesday's aid, the U.N.'s programs were 38 percent funded in the region. The donation will increase that percentage and make a "significant impact on funding levels in Lebanon."

The U.N. is aiding 428,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, while government officials and local aid workers say there are actually 650,000 Syrian refugees in the country.

Earlier Wednesday, Romania said it was ready to fulfill its financial pledge to Lebanon in order to help the country cope with the rising number of Syrian refugees.

“I informed [caretaker Prime Minister Najib] Mikati the Romanian government's commitment to contribute in helping the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and my country had already announced its contribution during the Kuwait donor conference,” Romanian Ambassador to Lebanon, Daniel Tanase, told reporters.

“We are ready to offer this contribution directly to the Lebanese Government through the High Relief Committee, and the money will be in Lebanon in the next few weeks,” he added.

The official who did not specify the amount his country intends to contribute also said it was the duty of the international community to help Lebanon, and host families in the country with the growing number of refugees.

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