Pope appeals for donors to dig deep ahead of Syria conference

Vatican City, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for donors to dig deep ahead of a United Nations-backed donor-pledging conference for Syria during the Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square.

The pope said some countries continue to experience a “dramatic” situation due to conflicts, famines and natural disasters.

He spoke of Syria and appealed for donors to dig deep ahead of Tuesday’s donor pleading conference hosted by the European Union and United Nations on supporting the future of the war-torn country and the region.

“Let us pray for this important meeting, so that it might improve the dramatic situation of the Syrian people and those nearby, especially in Lebanon, in this serious social-political and economic crisis, which the pandemic has made even more difficult,” he said.

“Please, let the leaders be able to make peace,” he urged.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 9.3 million Syrians, which is more than half of the country’s population, suffer from food insecurity.

“Syria today is facing an unprecedented hunger crisis as the prices of basic foods reach levels unseen even at the height of the nine-year conflict,” WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said.

The body has warned of a 200 percent food price hike in under a year.The pontiff appealed for a solution to the situation in Yemen “especially for the children suffering from this very serious humanitarian crisis.”

After more than 5 years of war, some 2.4 million children under the age of five are at risk of famine and malnutrition due to a lack of funds and humanitarian aid amid the pandemic and after more than 5 years of war, according to the UN Fund for Children (UNICEF).

Francis also mentioned those affected by the floods in western Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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