First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Tuesday Kuwait has always been keen on helping the Syrian people.
Addressing a ministerial meeting on the Humanitarian and Developing Situation in Syria and Neighboring countries, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled noted that Kuwait hosted, at the request of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, two humanitarian pledging conferences for Syria in 2013 and 2014.
Total pledges in the two conferences were over USD 3.4 billion, of which Kuwait contributed USD 800 million. "These funds were for the most part allocated to UN agencies, funds and programs working to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people," he said.
He said Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic development (KFAED), which was assigned to manage part of KuwaitØ¢’s government contributions, allocated USD 50 million to finance relief projects in SyriaØ¢’s neighboring countries most affected by the influx of refugees, particularly in Jordan and Lebanon.
In Jordan, he added, the influx of refugees in the Jordanian cities towns and villages has exasperated their infrastructure, and major stress was placed on road network, water and sanitation systems, education and health infrastructure.
The Jordanian areas were unable to handle or provide services for local residents, let alone refugees, said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled. He noted the Jordanian government and the UN Development Program (UNDP) have formulated a national response plan that prioritized certain projects that needed immediate attention.
KFAED, added Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, allocated USD 23 million to finance these projects and was expected to finalize an MoU for this grant in near future.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled also said that Lebanon was suffering from the influx of Syrian refugees. He said KFAED and the Lebanese government have put a plan that would cover all eight major governorates hosting large numbers of refugees.
KFAED will be donating USD 26 million to projects in vital sectors like health, education, water, sanitation and waste management, he said.
Kuwait is also active in offering humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in southern Turkey.