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Kenya: 44 dead after wall of a dam in a private agribusiness bursts

Author: Rita Damary, The Star (Kenya), Published on: 16 May 2018

"44 swept to death as Nakuru dam bursts wall"

Over 40 people were swept to their deaths yesterday and many more were missing after a dam burst its walls in the Solai area of Nakuru following heavy rains. The Patel Dam, located on private farmland and used for irrigation and fish farming, broke its one-kilometer-long wall and swept hundreds of homes downstream.  The extent of the damage was yet to be ascertained by press time and rescue and relief efforts were underway. Government officials, however, projected that the death toll could rise to more than 100. They include children and women trapped in mud and others whose whereabouts could not be established.

The mega dam on the farm of prominent farmer Mansukul Patel in Solai, Kabazi ward, collapsed and sent water surging across densely populated villages, destroying homes and buildings along the way. At Marigu B village, the water found its way through a fault and emerged some seven kilometres away at Murrum trading centre, causing panic among residents. Located on the upper part of the farm, the dam is eight kilometres from Solai Centre and one of four water reservoirs owned by Patel...

A primary school was destroyed and the neighboring Solai Secondary School flooded. It was later ordered closed by the ministry. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people were rendered homeless within a three-kilometre radius. Approximately 450 houses are said to have been destroyed, stretching up to the expansive Nyakinyua farm, which borders the dam's water reservoir.

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