Unusually heavy rains have been causing problems around Zimbabwe since New Year's, though the country's meteorological office said the dry spell that preceded the recent deluge prevented worse flooding than might have occurred in many areas.

Beitbridge, on the southern Limpopo River border with South Africa, received some 93 millimetres of rain, the most it has gotten in 46 years, meteorologists said. Masvingo, to the northeast, and Manicaland, still further north, were also drenched.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted the national meteorological service as stating that more than 40 millimeters of rain fell on most of the country in 24 hours. It said schools were washed away in the Masvingo towns of Zaka and Chiredzi.

But opposition parliamentarian Edward Nkosi, on the house committee on lands, agriculture and water, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the impact of the extremely heavy rains fell short of an outright flood disaster.

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