Twenty people are reported dead, and at least 39 have been hospitalised after a dam in Kenya broke its banks last night, following heavy rain in the area.
According to reports, the breach – which occurred in Solai, about 190km north-west of Nairobi – caused “huge destruction”, flooding nearby villages. Homes were swept away leaving hundreds homeless and over 2,000 people displaced.
The Kenyan Red Cross reported Thursday morning, 10 May 2018, that 39 people were taken to hospital after Patel Dam in Subukia, Nakuru County broke its banks, affecting nearby villages. This figure, as well as the death toll, is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts by County Government, Kenya Red Cross Society and EMS Kenya continue.
According to the BBC, Kenyan officials reported at least 20 dead. The BBC says witnesses heard a loud bang before the waves rushed through almost 2km of private farmland, where many of the villagers live and work. The dam was one of three reservoirs owned by a local farmer, according to the BBC, and there are concerns the other two could also burst.
According to Polycarp Hinga from the Jubilee Party, a horticulture farmer in Solai had completed blocked a river upstream and residents had complained to the local MP about the shortage of water and an impending tragedy if the dam was to burst.
Heavy rains have pelted the region since March, weakening the walls of the dams. So far over 140 people have died throughout Kenya as floods have wreaked havoc on the area, and local newspapers report that more heavy downpours are expected in the next few days. throughout Kenya have lost their lives because of the flooding caused by the rains.
Governor Lee Kinyajui, of Nakuru county, said: “The water has caused huge destruction of both life and property. The extent of the damage has yet to be ascertained.”
In a message on Twitter Kinyajui said he had visited two of the affected villages: “We will donate foodstuff & other items to displaced families. We have set up a centre near the scene for families to report missing members to enable us reunite them.”
450 families have been affected.
"The first thing is to get the 450 families affected food…" Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui talks on the measures they are undertaking to respond to the Patel Dam burst and the items they are in need of@BettyMKyallo #KTNNewsCentre pic.twitter.com/egjuWZdUpp
— ktn (@KTNKenya) May 10, 2018
Visited two villages in Solai, Subukia that were swept away after a dam burst its bank.
We will donate foodstuff & other items to displaced families.
We have set up a centre near the scene for families to report missing members to enable us reunite them #SolaiDamTragedy pic.twitter.com/NqPTfUQZsV
— Governor Lee Kinyanjui (@GovLeeKinyanjui) May 9, 2018