Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has declared a state of disaster as the country struggles to deal with a drought afflicting the region.

A government statement said Thursday that Mugabe had announced the designation, which is aimed at speeding the flow of aid to needy communities.

Philippe Van Damme, the European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe, warned last month that Zimbabwe's delays in declaring the drought a disaster could limit chances of getting international support at a time when donors are swamped with multiple humanitarian crises.