UN Says 192,000 Uprooted in August War

GENEVA — An estimated 192,000 people were uprooted in the August fighting over South Ossetia, but 68,000 have returned home, the UN refugee agency said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday revised its figure upward from 158,000 people it previously said were displaced by the fighting between Georgia, Russia and South Ossetian rebel forces last month.

The new figures are based on better counting, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said.

Some 23,000 will need shelter over the winter before they can return to their houses, which will be rebuilt next year, he said.

"The remaining 31,000 individuals are not expected to return in the foreseeable future," Redmond told reporters. These people are from South Ossetia, from the so-called buffer zone held by Russian forces south of the province and from Abkhazia, he said.

Redmond said UNHCR aid workers were still unable to get into the buffer zone next to South Ossetia. A joint humanitarian mission with other UN agencies earlier in the week was denied entry, he said.

Georgia already hosts 223,000 internally displaced people from previous conflicts, Redmond said.