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Zimbabwe Seeks Help After Flooding

The Zimbabwean Red Cross says about 800 families have been evacuated from northern parts of the country, after they were marooned by heavy flooding over the weekend.

Zimbabwe has witnessed incessant rains during the past week, resulting in floods in some parts of the country.

On Sunday, police said a family of eight drowned after a car they were traveling in was swept away as they tried to cross a flooded river about 100 kilometers southwest of Harare.

In the north, the Zambezi River bordering Zambia overflowed, forcing thousands of people to run to higher ground. They were rescued by government officials driving all-terrain vehicles, and sheltered in tents provided by the Red Cross.

Red Cross spokesman Takesure Mazuruse said the organization is still determining the level of help needed for those displaced by the floods.

He says the Red Cross has launched an international appeal to ensure that the flood victims have shelter and food.

"In such situations we apply for disaster relief funds and we are in process of engaging with our international partners," he said. "At national scale we are appealing to individuals, corporates and maybe the church to come and support our efforts."

Given Zimbabwe’s ailing economy, help is likely to come mainly from the international community, as most companies and individuals are struggling with day-to-day needs.

Last year, floods displaced thousands of Zimbabweans who were living downstream of one of the country’s major dams, about 400 kilometers south of Harare.

In that case, the Air Force of neighboring Namibia helped with rescue efforts.