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HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has appealed for international help for victims of floods that have left 246 people dead and displaced hundreds since December when torrential rains started pounding a country emerging from severe drought.
An El Nino-induced drought last year scorched crops in the southern African country, leaving more than 4 million in need of food aid, but Zimbabweans are now having to contend with floods after receiving above-normal rains.
Minister for local government Saviour Kasukuwere said floods had swept through villages in the southern and southwestern parts of Zimbabwe, destroying roads, crops and livestock and forcing people into temporary government shelter.
Kasukuwere said nearly 2,000 people were homeless, 74 schools were damaged and 70 dams had burst.
President Robert Mugabe's cash-strapped government has struggled to manage the inundation, whose effects were most severe in the areas hit hardest by last year's drought. Urban areas have not been spared, with many roads badly damaged.
"I am therefore appealing to the development partners, private sector and general public, inclusive of those in the diaspora, to rally with the government to support the emergency relieve programs," Kasukuwere said in a statement.
The government is seeking tents, drugs and food for those displaced by the floods, he added.
Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Ed Cropley