Kuwait City: Kuwait`s emir Tuesday pledged half a billion dollars at the start of a major donor conference for Syria, describing the crisis unfolding as the "biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history".
"I am pleased to announce the pledging of $500 million (464 million euros) from Kuwait`s government and private sectors to support the humanitarian efforts in Syria," Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said.
"We are meeting here to face the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in the modern history of mankind," the emir said.
Speaking at the donors` meet, UN Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon said that four out of five Syrians now live in poverty.
"The Syrian people are victims of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time," Ban told the conference, which the UN hopes will raise billions of dollars in aid.
"Four out of five Syrians live in poverty, misery and deprivation. The country has lost nearly four decades of human development," Ban said.
"Nearly half of the country`s men, women, and children have been forced to flee homes," the UN chief added.
Representatives from 78 nations are attending the conference.
Kuwait has hosted a donor conference for Syrians in each of the last two years, generating several billion dollars worth of pledges.