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Flooding Leaves Some 1,000 Families Homeless In Northeastern Zimbabwe

Around 1,000 Zimbabwean families are estimated to have been left homeless in the Muzarabani district of Mashonaland Central Province in the wake of heavy floods there, an official with the International Red Cross said Thursday.

The homeless have been moved to higher ground, but the deluge has claimed at least three lives, the official and news reports said. The national meteorological service said more flooding may occur in the next two weeks, raising fears of a widening impact.

Villages affected included Kanyanya, Makombe, Gunduza, Chadereka, Bvondora and Mhako, around 60 kilometers from Muzarabani. It was feared villagers in Chiwenga, Chimoyo and Kairezi, near the Mozambique border, might also be in danger.

Reports said livestock, crops and household goods were swept away after a storm hit the area late last week.

Zimbabwe's Civil Protection Unit and non-governmental organizations including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have stepped in to assist the homeless, providing tents, food, blankets and other relief materials.

Deputy Head Esther Okwanga of the Southern African Zone for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told VOA reporter Carole Gombakomba that her organization has set aside US$235,000 for aid.

But she said an international appeal may be issued if the disaster worsens.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...