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  1. ITV Report

Severe drought ravages Zimbabwe leaving hundreds of animals dead

  • Video report by Africa Correspondent Penny Marshall

Southern Africa is in the midst of a severe drought.

Rains which should have fallen in October did not emerge, leaving land parch and farmers struggling to reap their harvests.

In Zimbabwe, the country's government has called a national emergency.

Safari favourites, usually found around picturesque watering holes, have found themselves struggling to sustain - their carcasses now litter the parched landscape.

This region annually experiences hot, dry weather at this time of year - but this year is different.

Hotter. Drier. More deadly.

At least 65 elephants have died in the last two months, officials say.

For those still fighting for survival, the region's once reliable sources of water have turned into death traps.

Elephant and buffalo are among many species in the Mana Pools National Park which have got stuck in clay while trying to reach Long Pool, the largest of the watering holes at 3 miles long.

Now only five percent full, Long Pool is one of the few remaining water sources in this part of the park.

Hippos are submerged in some puddles to avoid skin desiccation, while birds pick catfish from the muddy riverbed.

Rangers have been forced to bring in food for animals to survive. Credit: AP

Ranchers of the park normally don't intervene, but now they are being forced to lend a helping hand by leaving feed out for animals and supplying drinking water.

For humans, the story is much the same. Severe drought has left more than a third of rural households in Zimbabwe, around 3.5 million people, with dangerously insecure food sources, according to the UN World Food Programme.

Officials say there is one cause for all that is happening - climate change.