Outstanding pledges from Gulf countries totaling some $650 million is imperiling humanitarian efforts in Syria, the Independent reports.
As of May 1, Qatar has delivered $2.7 million of the $100 million in aid it pledged to Syria during a January summit in Kuwait.
Its Gulf neighbors have similarly failed to deliver on promised aid, with Saudi Arabia sending $21.6 million of the $78 million it pledged; the UAE sending $18.4 million of the $300 million pledged; and Bahrain and Kuwait sending none of the $20 million and $10 million it pledged, respectively.
The Independent, which said it used databases managed by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to track the aid sent, reports:
The severe shortfall, together with predictions that the Syrian refugee crisis could triple by the end of the year, is forcing UN aid agencies to plan for food rationing and to scale back health programmes including vaccinations.
The World Food Programme (WFP), the food aid arm of the UN, says it is spending $19m a week to feed 2.5 million refugees inside Syria and a further 1.5 million who have fled to official camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. By July, the WFP says, there is no guarantee that its work on the Syrian crisis can continue.
A spokesman said: “We are already in a hand-to-mouth situation. Beyond mid-June – who knows?”
Qatar has long been a strong supporter of the Syrian opposition, sending humanitarian aid and weapons to the rebels.