Weeks of heavy rain caused the Patel dam in the Kenyan town Solai to burst late on Wednesday, with government officials saying Thursday morning that the gushing water has led to loss of life and property. Search-and-rescue teams are looking for survivors as local residents-many now homeless-salvage what they can from the destruction, reports AP.
Heavy rain has battered Kenya and other East African nations over the past two months. My neighbor was killed when the water smashed through the wall of his house. "My other neighbours also died".
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Nakuru lies in the heart of Kenya's fertile Rift Valley, home to thousands of commercial farms that grow everything from French beans to macadamia nuts to cut flowers, almost all of which are exported to Europe. The region faced a drought previous year. "There is another dam which is also overflowing which is looking risky", she said.
Since March, at least 21,000 acres (8,500 hectares) of farmland have been submerged in water with an estimated 20,000 animals killed, the Red Cross said last week.
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A senior police officer at the scene, speaking on condition of anonymity, said emergency workers had spent the night combing through engulfed houses to retrieve the bodies of the victims and had only covered about half of the affected area.
Arriving at the scene, Interior Minister Fred Matiangi pledged central government assistance to those affected.
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Governor Lee Kinyanjui said Nakuru County was working closely with KRCS as well as the security agencies to coordinate rescue missions. Recent heavy rain in the area is thought to have overwhelmed the dam, before it failed and water surged across a 1.2 mile radius, destroying homes, buildings, powerlines, and a primary school, Reuters reported.