Kenya: Search for the Missing Ongoing as Death Toll in Dam Collapse Hits 41

Photo: Capital FM
The Kenya Red Cross estimates that up to 500 families are affected in the tragedy after their houses were swept away when a dam in Solai collapsed.

Nakuru — The death toll in the Subukia dam tragedy has hit 41 even as rescuers searched for more people reported missing.

Of those confirmed dead, 21 are adults while 20 are children in the worst flood-related tragedy in the country since the heavy rains started, police said.

The rains that started in March have led to flooding and mudslides that have left close to 200 people dead and thousands more displaced.

"The death toll from this incident stands at 41 as at now," Gideon Kibunjah, head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Rift Valley told Capital FM News late Thursday after visiting the scene of the tragedy.

The tragedy occurred on Wednesday night when Patel dam that is used for irrigation and fish farming in Solai, just outside Nakuru town, burst and swept homes away.

The trail of destruction left by the flooded dam was evident Thursday, having swept off homes and crops in nearby farms.

Our Correspondent in Nakuru recounted seeing bodies of people--including young children hanging on cliffs or branches of trees that were felled by the floods from the dam owned by an Asian farmer who settled in Solai in 1960's and grows coffee, Macadamia and flowers for export.

A witness Ruth Njoki recounted how she survived when the floods swept off her house.

"At first I thought it was the rains but when I went out I saw water all over and I had to run," she said, I am alive today because I ran fast but I do not know the whereabouts of my children."

Richard Karanja who had just located his wife said he was still searching for some his children after the tragedy.

"I am looking for two others, I can only hope they are alive because I have been re-united with one."

The Kenya Red Cross estimates that up to 500 families are affected in the tragedy described by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi as a 'disaster.'

"The government will do everything possible to assist the affected families," said Mariangi when he visited the scene of tragedy, where he announced that an investigation was underway. "It is not the time to apportion blame to anyone, let us focus on helping the families to resume their normal lives as investigations continue."

The casualties are being treated at the Nakuru County Referral Hospital and Bahati Sub-County Hospital following the Wednesday night incident.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said Thursday that more than 220,000 people have been displaced by flooding as heavy rains hit the country after three consecutive failed rainy seasons had left it in drought.

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