The Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations today jointly appealed for a further $43.3 million to fund humanitarian relief for people affected by drought as well as families displaced by recent fighting in the country’s south. This funding would supplement an appeal for nearly $76.4 million launched in July. Just over half of that money has been received so far. The UN and the Afghan Government estimate that, due to the drought conditions, 1.9 million people will need food assistance – 200,000 more than predicted in July. They say the initial plan must be extended through the start of the next harvest in April 2007. “While we are grateful for the generous contributions received thus far, there is an urgent and pressing need to continue assistance to drought and conflict affected communities across Afghanistan,” said Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Deputy Special Representative, Ameerah Haq.He urged donor countries “to step forward with pledges that will enable us to provide vital food, and other essential living items as we approach the winter months.” The appeal also includes assistance to an estimated 20,000 families displaced by the recent armed conflict in Uruzgan, Helmand and Kandahar, according to the Government of Afghanistan.