Deadly floods: Zimbabwe seeks foreign aid

2017-03-03 17:25


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Harare - At least 246 people have been killed by floods in Zimbabwe since December, state media reported on Friday, as the government launched an appeal for foreign aid.

The Herald newspaper said at least 128 people had been injured, 2 000 left homeless, 74 schools damaged and 70 dams had burst in floods across the country that followed a prolonged drought.

"There is an inadequate supply of tents, foodstuffs and drugs for the affected people," Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told the paper.

"There is a need for blankets and clothing for the affected families and they are at risk of contracting pneumonia and acute respiratory infections."

He appealed for emergency funding from international donors, private companies and the public.

"After working hard responding to the effects of drought, the same people are now suffering because of excessive floods," Bishow Parajuli, of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), told The Herald.

Kasukuwere said rainfall levels had been above normal in most parts of Zimbabwe in recent months.

Severe drought 

Government officials were not immediately able to comment to AFP.

Among the worst affected areas were south-western districts, including Tsholotsho, where at least 859 people were living in a makeshift camp after their homes were destroyed by heavy rains.

State television on Thursday showed images of marooned villagers in Tsholotsho being rescued by airforce helicopters.

The meteorological department has warned of further heavy rains, cautioning people against crossing flooded rivers and bridges.

The floods came as Zimbabwe was hoping to recover from a severe drought which ravaged most of the southern African country and destroyed many food crops.

The country now faces more food shortages following the floods and an outbreak of the fall armyworm caterpillar that devours crops, according to the agriculture ministry.

A former regional bread basket, Zimbabwe has relied on imports in recent years to top up local harvests.

Critics blame the perennial shortages on President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms which saw the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, most of whom lacked the means to farm.

Mugabe, 93, has blamed the poor yields on erratic rains due to climate change.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  floods  |  southern africa

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