The government today has taken humanitarian partners on a fact finding mission to assess the impact of flooding which has left a trail of destruction leaving thousands homeless and 246 people dead.

The head of the cabinet committee on emergency preparedness and disaster management, who is also Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere and Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi are accompanied by the United Nations resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Zimbabwe Mr Bishow Parajuli and they are touring Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces which are flood prone and the worst affected owing to their geographical locations.

Since the onset of the incessant rains 246 people were killed due to the floods and more than 2 000 people were left homeless following a trail of destruction caused by the floods.

More than 1 500 people were rescued by the Air Force of Zimbabwe after they were marooned and bridges, roads, schools and hospitals were destroyed requiring more than a US$100 million to repair.

Meanwhile, the assessment tour has so far revealed that three bridges in Mberengwa district in the Midlands province were destroyed by floods making life unbearable for thousands of people in three constituencies as they were cut off from vital facilities which provide social services such as health and education.

Mberengwa district administrator White Nkoma pleaded with government authorities and United Nations relief organisations to assist by providing solutions to the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Mr Nkoma said water sources in the area were either polluted or cut off while children from the local community who attend Chegato High School could no longer access the learning institution after its Tandavarai or Jeka bridge was swept away.

Expectant mothers are also at a risk of losing their lives as they are unable to access Jeka hospital owing to the destruction of the bridge.

Chizungu or Phonec bridge which demarcates Mberengwa North and West constituencies was also swept away making life difficult for locals who are unable to access basic services.

Government Ministers Cde Kasukuwere and Dr Sekeramayi and the UN resident coordinator for Zimbabwe Mr Parajuli who are on a fact finding mission to assess the impact of the floods pledged to ensure the humanitarian crisis is given the priority it deserves to ensure the situation returns to normalcy.

President Robert Mugabe declared the flood situation a state of disaster and government launched an international humanitarian appeal seeking approximately US$100 million for the assistance of victims and repair of destroyed infrastructure.