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Humanitarian Update: Regional Office for the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, Sep 2008

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The Secretary-General condemned in the strongest possible terms the suicide attack against a United Nations convoy in southern Afghanistan on 15 September. The attack, in Kandahar Province, killed two doctors working for WHO, as well as their driver, all of whom were Afghan nationals. The doctors, traveling in clearly marked United Nations vehicles, were carrying out a polio vaccination campaign. A number of bystanders were also injured in the attack, which came one day after another suicide bombing near Kabul that killed the Governor of Logar Province.

The United Nations has issued two humanitarian appeals in the MENACA region in the past month. The first Appeal was issued on 25 September, in consultation with the Government of Tajikistan and other humanitarian partners. The Humanitarian Food Security Appeal for US$34.7 million aims to provide a temporary safety net for 800,000 of the most vulnerable people across the country. Recent assessments indicate that a further 1.3 million people out of the total population of 6.7 million are at risk of food shortages as a combined result of reduced agricultural output and the global food crisis. The Appeal, which covers a 15-month period from October 2008 to December 2009, offers short- and long-term relief by providing food and cash assistance, as well as rehabilitating critical infrastructure and supporting the agriculture sector through the next planting and harvest cycle.

The second Appeal, for US$20.2 million, was launched on 1 October in conjunction with government partners and non-governmental organisations to help people affected by drought in Syria for a period of six months. Syria is currently experiencing the worst drought for over four decades and the Government has estimated that up to one million people - predominantly herders and subsistence farmers -are at risk of losing their livelihoods and of increased malnutrition. For full details of both Appeals please visit www.humanitarianappeal.net

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.