Kenyan dam bursts causing "huge destruction", deaths

Casey Dawson
May 11, 2018

Water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam in Solai, Nakuru - around 120 miles northwest of the capital Nairobi - on Wednesday night, sweeping away hundreds of homes.

A team from the Red Cross, which is handling the rescue operations with members from the county government said in a statement that "39 people [were] taken to hospital last night after Patel Dam in Subukia, Nakuru County, broke its banks affecting nearby villages".

To date, heavy rains have caused havoc in Kenya, killing 158 people and displacing 299,859, according to the government and Kenya Red Cross.

Officials said the dam water and mud spewed out of the reservoir and submerged homes over a radius of almost two kilometres (1.2 miles). My neighbour was killed when the water smashed through the wall of his house. He was blind so he could not run. "My other neighbors also died".

The raging waters wiped out two villages, a local resident said, while power lines were swept away, leaving many without electricity.

"There is another dam which is also overflowing which is looking risky", she said.

Euloge Ishimwe, head of communications for the Africa Region for the International Federation of Red Cross, told CNN that thousands of people could be displaced.

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Kenyan interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi is set to visit the site.

"The water has caused huge destruction of both life and property".

The floods hit as the East African nation was recovering from a severe drought that had affected half of the country.

The death toll in the Patel Dam tragedy in Solai, Nakuru County has climbed to 44 after more bodies were retrieved on Thursday evening.

State House, through its spokesperson Mr Manoah Esipisu on Thursday afternoon said that the government is assessing the damage and would issue a comprehensive statement upon receipt of full details.

The flooding could yet get worse, with heavy rains forecast to continue in the Rift Valley and the Lake Victoria basin over the next few weeks.

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