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Suriname Declares Disaster in Flooded Regions

Suriname's government has declared a disaster in several parts of the South American country, after massive flooding caused by days of heavy rain.

The flooding is most severe in central and southwestern Suriname, where several rivers have burst their banks. At least 150 villages have been submerged under as much as two meters of muddy water.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says at least three deaths have been reported in Suriname. The Red Cross also says 25,000 people have been affected by rising water levels since the start of the month.

Suriname's military has sent troops to the worst affected areas to help thousands of displaced villagers move to higher ground. Villagers say food is becoming scarce in some areas.

Aid agencies in the Netherlands have launched appeals to raise money for the flood victims. Suriname is a former Dutch colony.

The flooded areas are predominantly populated by descendants of West African slaves, known as Maroons.