ICRC hopes Kuwait pledging conference will bring glimmer of hope to Syrians

As the Syria crisis enters its fifth year, the human costs across the region are so enormous that they stretch beyond imagination. That's one of the top-line messages put forward by ICRC President, Peter Maurer, at the third High-Level International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, which is being hosted by the government of Kuwait. Mr. Maurer is representing the whole of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement at the conference, which aims to generate pledges of substantial financial support for the humanitarian effort in Syria and neighboring countries. Representatives of the United Nations, NGOs, and governments are taking part in the one-day meeting in Kuwait City. United States Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, is leading the US delegation to the conference. Chaos and Carnage It's estimated that 12 million Syrians are in need of assistance and worryingly, the ICRC predicts that even if progress were to be made towards negotiating a political solution today, we are still looking at another five years of intense humanitarian activity (or more) in order to address the immense humanitarian challenges in the region. Writing for the Huffington Post this week, Mr. Maurer described the perils of being born and growing up amid the chaos and carnage in eastern Aleppo. “Every child born in Syria is touched by the conflict. Medical services are crumbling, the economy is on its knees, and the multitudes of jobless have few savings left to live on. The child's relatives will have been killed or injured,” he wrote on their politics blog. “When the child falls ill, its parents will struggle to get adequate treatment since the hospitals have shut down or been destroyed, and the doctors have fled or been killed. The parents must worry about where to find food, how to stay warm, and whether the water that still sometimes flows from the taps is safe to drink… If this Kuwait meeting can generate long-term partnerships between donors and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement it will be an extra glimmer of hope for every child born in Aleppo and across the region,” he concluded. A call to action Mr. Maurer also delivered a speech to conference participants during which he said, "I am worried that the resources and patience of Syrians, host communities, and the region’s governments are stretched to the limit." He ended his remarks with a call to action. "This conflict has been brutal and unrelenting. We need a change of direction. We need greater respect for international humanitarian law, which distinguishes between combatants and those not fighting. We need more room for a neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian action. We need protection for the vulnerable and for medical services. Humanitarian workers must be able to carry out their work in safety. I ask all those with influence on the parties to the conflict to ensure respect for these vital rules." Learn more:Syrian Arab Red CrescentICRC Syria websiteRed Cross Red Crescent Movement "Red for Syria" pageIntercross video looking back on four years of suffering in Syria