By Kitsepile Nyathi
Zimbabwe has appealed for $100 million help for people affected by floods amid reports that 246 others have died and 2,000 have been left homeless since heavy rains began in December.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Friday said floods had destroyed roads, crops and livestock throughout the country.
President Robert Mugabe had earlier in the week declared southern Zimbabwe a national disaster after villagers were left marooned as major rivers burst their banks.
“It is apparent that extraordinary response measures to alleviate suffering of citizens of this country in communal, resettlement and urban areas have to be intensified,” Mr Kasukuwere said.
“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 relief programmes in line with policy which requires that every citizen has a responsibility to avert and/or limit the effects of a disaster.”
Zimbabwe was emerging from a prolonged drought that left four million people in need of food aid last year.
The rains associated with the La Nina weather phenomenon, have left 74 schools damaged while 70 dams burst throughout the country, Mr Kasukuwere said.
Transport minister Joram Gumbo said the government was mobilising funds to repair five bridges on major highways that were swept away by the floods.
“Our roads have deteriorated to the extent that some sections of the national road network have become impassable,” the minister said.
President Mugabe recently declared roads in Harare a state of disaster after incessant rains caused potholes.
Zimbabwe has over the years relied on donors to feed the majority of its population because of the poor performance of the economy.
The country’s once thriving agriculture industry collapsed a decade ago after President Mugabe embarked on a controversial land reform programme that displaced close to 4,000 white commercial farmers.