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Thousands of Zanzibaris homeless after heavy rains

Thousands of people in the north of the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar were made homeless on Tuesday following the heaviest rains on the island for more than three decades, a government official told IRIN on Wednesday.

"We are still assessing the magnitude of the damage," Said Shabaan, the deputy permanent secretary in Zanzibar's chief minister's office, said.

Some homes were swept away, he said. Others are flooded.

He estimated that 500 families had been affected, with each family having between four and six members, although some may have up to 10.

Zanzibar's chief minister, Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, called for international aid. He said the families needed food, blankets, mattresses, mosquito nets, clothes and medicine, and that they risked catching diseases such as cholera and malaria.

Relief organisations are awaiting an official government report on the extent of the damage before acting, officials in Nahodha's office said.

The report is expected on Thursday.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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