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UN Relief Team to Assess Conditions in Georgia, South Ossetia

A United Nations humanitarian mission will visit areas affected by last month's conflict between Russian and Georgian forces, including South Ossetia, which has seceded from Georgia.

People at a church service in Gori

The UN said it wants to find out what the needs are in the war-torn regions

The mission will be in the region from Wednesday, Sept. 17, to Saturday "to gain first-hand knowledge of the humanitarian and human rights situations and needs on the ground, including the position of those displaced by the conflict and other vulnerable groups," the UN said.

The group will visit also the Georgian capital Tbilisi and Gori, a major city that was temporarily occupied by Russian forces.

In addition to the relief mission, the UN said it planned a separate "broader fact-finding mission in the region."

The relief mission's findings could contribute to an adjustment in the appeal launched on Aug. 18 by the UN to seek funds to assist the more than 150,000 people displaced by the fighting that erupted in South Ossetia and spread to another separatist entity, Abkhazia, and parts of Georgia proper.

The UN said the mission's visits were being coordinated with the governments in Moscow and Tbilisi. The mission is composed of major UN agencies, such as the UN Children's Fund, the UN Development Program, World Food Program and UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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