Venezuela's Chavez to move into Gaddafi tent

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President Hugo Chavez addressing flood victims in Caracas
Image caption,
President Chavez has taken personal charge of relief efforts

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is going to govern temporarily from a tent so that families made homeless by recent floods can take refuge in his office.

Mr Chavez said he would have a Bedouin tent given to him by the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi put up in the garden of the presidential palace.

Twenty-five families are already living in the palace after losing their homes.

The floods have made more than 100,000 people homeless across the country.

"Put up Gaddafi's gift," said Mr Chavez during a visit to a refuge for flood victims close to the Miraflores palace in Caracas.

"You can install it in the garden at Miraflores because I'm going to move into the tent. We can put some beds in my office."

Mr Chavez is an admirer of Col Gaddafi, who lives in a huge Bedouin tent in Libya, and brought one with him when he visited Venezuela last year.

The Venezuelan leader has been personally supervising relief efforts in response to the floods.

The worst rains in a decade have caused widespread destruction and killed more than 30 people.

Some of the worst damage has been in poor hillside neighbourhoods of Caracas, where landslides have swept away precarious houses.

Mr Chavez has promised a massive home-building programme, and on Friday appointed culture minister Francisco Sesto to the new role of minister for reconstruction in Caracas.

Neighbouring Colombia and much of Central America have also suffered from one of their worst May-November rainy seasons in decades.

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