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.
“The water has caused huge destruction of both life and property. The extent of the damage has yet to be ascertained,” said Lee Kinyajui, governor of Nakuru, the county where the dam is located.
Solai is located some 190 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of the capital of Nairobi.
Kenyan TV broadcaster KTN interviewed a schoolboy who described having to evacuate his schoolroom:
The Daily Nation, a widely circulated Kenya newspaper, reported that over 20 had died, citing a police official. Witness told the paper that they heard an “explosion” before water poured out, sweeping away hundreds of homes. The paper reported that the dam burst left over 500 families left homeless and affected around 2,500 residents.
The Kenyan Red Cross tweeted that 39 people had been taken to the hospital as a result of the busted dam. Search and rescue operations are currently underway:
Heavy rain has battered Kenya and other East African nations over the past two months.
According to government officials, the rains have killed 132 people and displaced over 222,000 since March, Reuters reported.
The Daily Nation reported that the Patel dam is one of three dams in the area. The other two have high volumes of water but remain intact, the paper said.
Volunteers have been searching for survivors of the dam burst in Solai