The overflow of a dam in the Rift Valley killed at least 41 people and forced hundreds more to leave their homes, officials in Kenya said Thursday.
The water flooded the shore of the Patel dam in Solai, in Nakuru county, on Wednesday night, destroying hundreds of homes, including some on the Nyakinyua Farm, which borders the water reserve. The incident increased the already high number of fatalities caused by the floods of the rainy season in the African nation.
“There are many people missing. This is a disaster, “said Rongai police chief Joseph Kioko. One locality was almost completely destroyed by water and silt, said Gideon Kibunj, head of police investigations in the county.
The Kenya Red Cross and disaster management office teams in Nakuru County began a rescue operation on Thursday morning, and up to 40 people were rescued from the mud and taken to hospitals. It is feared that many will remain trapped. According to the authorities, the water and mud of the dam overflowed the reservoir and submerged houses in a radius of up to almost 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).
The governor of Nakuru, Lee Kinyanjui, told residents in a statement that “we will do everything possible to get affected families safe and help them get medical care.”