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U.N. seeks $6.5 billion in aid effort for Syria

GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The United Nations and its partners seek $13 billion in aid to help millions of people in need in 2014, of which about half would be for Syria, officials said.

The $6.5 billion sought to help millions of Syrians within the country is the largest amount requested so far for a single humanitarian emergency, the United Nations said Monday in a release.

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The civil war, which began in March 2011, has left about 8 million people needing humanitarian assistance, the United Nations said.

"As we look toward the fourth year of this appalling crisis, its brutal impact on millions of Syrians is testing the capacity of the international community to respond," Valery Amos, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said at the appeals launch in Geneva, Switzerland.

All told, aid agencies seek to provide assistance to 52 million people in humanitarian response plans for 17 countries, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in the release.

Crises in Syria and its neighboring countries, the Philippines and Yemen have displaced or affected 35 million men, women and children who need humanitarian relief, U.N. officials said.

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"It is hard to put into words their despair, but also the dignity with which they endure the most painful and difficult circumstances," Amos said. "We count on the continued support from our partners as we work to save lives and support the millions of people caught in crisis."

Officials said 568 aid organizations are participating with humanitarian projects worldwide.

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