Saturday 22 September 2018

Dozens killed as dam bursts in Kenya

Almost an entire village was swept by silt and water, police said.

People gather in front of the broken banks of the Patel dam near Solai, in Kenya's Rift Valley (AP)
People gather in front of the broken banks of the Patel dam near Solai, in Kenya's Rift Valley (AP)

By Tom Odula, Associated Press

At least 20 children are among the dead after a dam burst its banks in Kenya’s Rift Valley, killing at least 41 people and forcing hundreds from their homes, officials said.

Water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam in Solai, Nakuru County, on Wednesday night, sweeping away hundreds of homes, including those on the expansive Nyakinyua Farm, which borders the reservoir.

“Many people are missing. It is a disaster,” said Rongai police chief Joseph Kioko.

Almost an entire village was swept by silt and water, said Gideon Kibunja, the county police chief in charge of criminal investigations.

Up to 40 people have been rescued from the mud and taken to hospital in rescue operations by the Kenya Red Cross and Nakuru County disaster management teams.

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A child affected by the floods is taken away by ambulance (AP)

Many more are feared still trapped.

Officials said the dam water and mud spewed out of the reservoir and submerged homes over a radius of nearly two kilometres (1.2 miles).

At least 132 people have died since March from floods caused by seasonal rains, Kenya’s government said.

The deaths from the dam burst raise the death toll to around 170 people.

At least 225,436 people have been displaced from their homes, according to a government statement.

Military helicopters and personnel have for the past week been deployed to rescue people marooned by the flooding.

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

Press Association

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