At least 38 killed after dam burst in central Kenya

At least 38 people were killed on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, after a dam collapsed in central Kenya, submerging homes over a radius of nearly 2 km (1.2 miles). The number of people killed in Kenya since the start of the wet season has thus risen to at least 164.

According to police reports, the private Patel dam in Solai, used for irrigation and fish farming, burst around 19:00 local time on Wednesday, sweeping away over 220 homes and killing at least 38 people. Emergency workers spent the night combing through engulfed houses, rubble and mud searching for survivors and had only covered half of the affected area by Thursday morning. Up to 40 people have been rescued from the mud and taken to a hospital.

The floodwaters swept away powerlines, homes and buildings, including a primary school, Reuters reports.

“We have recovered 38 bodies and 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.

The Kenyan Red Cross said they estimated up to 500 families were affected by the disaster. 

The full extent of the damage is not yet known.

The dam is located on a large commercial farm on top of a hill in Nakuru county, 190 km (120 miles) northwest of capital Nairobi.

Featured image credit: KTN News

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