NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A somber mood has engulfed Kenya as the nation
comes to terms with the magnitude of a flood tragedy that has so
far claimed at least 44 lives.
The incident that
happened on Wednesday night was due to heavy rains that led to
overflow of over 20 million liters of water from a dam at a
flower export farm in Nakuru, some 200 km west of Nairobi.
The water swept away an entire village consisting of over 200
houses and hosted more than 5,000 people as it destroyed
everything on its path in minutes.
The flood water mixed with mud buried residents alive, ripped
apart houses, overturned vehicles and carried away animals.
There are fears that the death toll could hit 100 as over 40
people are still missing, with rescue efforts currently ongoing.
The tragedy is the latest resulting from heavy rains pounding
the East African nation for the past two months.
Several schools have also been destroyed disrupting learning
for hundreds of students as some learning institutions also host
However, the Wednesday disaster is the worst single case
since the deluge started two months ago.
Citizens and leaders have united in mourning the dead and
comforting the about 40 people who sustained injuries and are
admitted to various hospitals in Nakuru.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i termed the tragedy
devastating and on Thursday asked the nation to expect the
"I want to prepare Kenyans mentally that the magnitude of the
tragedy is huge.
The teams are likely to recover and retrieve more bodies from
the debris and mud," Matiang’i said.
He asked citizens to stop speculations on the tragedy as the
government investigates the incident, including claims that the
dam was illegal.
"We are handling this matter seriously to find out whether
the accident would have been prevented.
"For now, it is an ordinary accident where a dam broke its
banks and water flew sweeping families along the path.
"It is a tragedy but it has provided an opportunity to
examine the works done on our dams, especially those privately
owned," Matiang’i noted.
Following the disaster, citizens in areas hosting dams mainly
used for the production of hydropower have called for the
reinforcement of the facilities to avert similar tragedy.
Kenya is home to several dams that include Gitaru, Kiambere,
Kindaruma and Masinga, among others.
The calls came as the government started to empty two dams at
the affected Patel farm, which were found to be structurally
However, as the country grapples with the heavy rains, the
Meteorological Department has painted a gloomy picture that
shows the East African nation could face more crisis.
On Thursday, the department said the rains would continue for
the next one month and would be heavy especially in Central,
Rift Valley and at the Coast.
The department has ruled out that the heavy rains are El-nino,
noting that the country is just experiencing more downpour than
has been the case in the past years.
Kenya orders police to
probe dam tragedy as death toll rises to 44
NAKURU (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s chief public prosecutor on Friday ordered
the police to launch investigations into the cause of the dam
that burst its banks on Wednesday night, killing 44 people in
Noordin Haji, Director of Public Prosecutions, directed
Joseph Boinnet, the Inspector General of Police, to carry out
thorough probe to establish the exact cause of Patel Dam tragedy
that has left 40 people still missing.
"DPP has directed the IG @JBoinnet to carry out thorough
investigations to establish cause & culpability if any of Patel
Dam disaster & forward resultant investigation file to him in 14
days #SolaiDamTragedy," Haji said in a tweet posted on the
The Patel Dam, located on private farmland and used for
irrigation and fish farming, broke its banks and swept hundreds
of homes downstream.
Pius Masai, the Deputy Director and Communication Officer at
the National Disaster Management Unit, said the extent of the
damage was yet to be ascertained and rescue and relief efforts
"The number of dead bodies is 44, admitted 41, missing 40 as
per 19:00hrs," Masai said on Thursday evening, adding that the
rescue operation resumed on Friday
The East African nation has been experiencing unprecedented
flooding in recent days as torrential rains pound the country
shortly after it had come out of a severe drought season marked
by hunger and water scarcity.
Kenya’s rising toll of
deaths linked to floods as bursting
of reservoir overwhelms disaster response
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The mounting toll of deaths and destruction
wrought by raging floods and bursting of a water reservoir in
Kenya has pushed the country’s resilience in the face of
disasters to a breaking point, experts have said.
Kenya was again on the global spotlight on Thursday when a
private dam located in the northwestern county of Nakuru burst
on Wednesday night after a heavy downpour leaving behind a trail
of death and devastation.
Government statistics indicated the death toll from collapse
of Patel dam located 200km west of the capital of Nairobi
reached 44 on Thursday evening and was expected to rise as
rescue efforts for the missing intensified.
So far, close to 160 people have died in Kenya as result of
heavy downpour that commenced in mid-March and has been
accompanied by extensive flooding and bursting of reservoirs.
Fred Matiangi, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and
coordination of government led state officials to inspect the
damage caused by Patel dam which caved in after torrential
Matiangi said the government will assist the people displaced
by the collapsed reservoir to rebuild their lives through
provision of building materials, food and primary healthcare.
"We have set up contingency plans to ensure victims of the
collapsed dam are assisted to reconstruct their lives. We are
going to help them construct new homes and facilitate their
resumption of economic activities like farming," said Matiangi.
He added that Kenya Army officers will join volunteers from
relief agencies to intensify the search for missing victims of
the burst reservoir whose devastation spread across a
The bursting of Patel dam built in the middle of a 2,000 acre
farm that specializes in growing cut flowers for export, placed
additional strain on Kenya’s disaster response strategy in the
wake of extensive flooding.
Experts regretted that Kenya’s capacity to respond to natural
disasters such as floods remained weak due to policy gaps,
under-funding, inadequate technology and trained personnel.
Robert Muthami, a Nairobi-based environmentalist, said lack
of preparedness and lethargic enactment of disaster management
strategies at the grassroots level is to blame for higher
fatalities and economic losses linked to the current flooding.
"We need to increase budgetary allocation to disaster
management and more importantly address their root cause which
happens to be climate change," Muthami remarked.
"At the county level, we should invest in climate mitigation
and adaptation strategies to minimize the impacts of disasters
like the floods being experienced in the country," he added.
Death toll rising to 32 in ‘Patel Dam’ Solai sudden
Floods kill 158, displaces 299,859 others in Kenya since
Patel Dam near Solai township, Nakuru
County, in Kenya Rift Valley burst amid heavy rains
Kenyan dam bursts causing 'huge destruction' and deaths
Emergency workers in Kenya continue desperate search for
survivors after dam collapses