Zimbabwe appeals for aid after devastating floods leave 246 dead

Peta Thornycroft
Two gold panners men carry a radio and a metal detector machine as they walk across the overflowing Ncema  - AFP or licensors

Zimbabwe has appealed for international aid after floods over the past month have left 246 people dead and thousands homeless.

Zimbabwe cannot afford to rescue isolated communities after flooding rivers wiped out bridges and roads mostly in the south of the country.

The summer rains are predicted to continue until the end of this month. Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe’s local government minister, has declared a national disaster.

“There is an inadequate supply of tents, food stuffs, drugs for the displaced people. There is need for blankets and clothing for the affected families as they are at risk of contracting pneumonia and acute respiratory infections,” Mr Kasukuwere said.

A picture taken on March 3, 2017 shows water overflowing at the Umzingwane Dam causing flooding down stream - Credit: Zinyange Auntony/AFP

Mr Kasukuwere said nearly 2,000 people were homeless, 74 schools were damaged and 70 dams had burst.

Zimbabwe says it is too poor to fix roads and cannot raise foreign loans to repair much of its crumbling infrastructure neglected for at least the past decade.

Joram Gumbo, the transport minister, said: “The state of our roads has further deteriorated … some sections of the national road network have become impassable.”

South African police recently rescued four people illegally trying to enter South Africa by crossing the the raging Limpopo River.

A school teacher said: “We are hungry as there is no food here and buses are not working because the roads are broken.”

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