Dam Break in Kenya Wipes Out Villages, Leaving Many Homeless

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According to Nakuru Governor, Lee Kinyanjui the water from the dam has caused massive destruction of both property and life.

The burst happened in Solai, Nakuru County, 190 kilometres (120 miles) northwest of the capital, Nairobi, late on Wednesday.

Police spokesman Joseph Kioko said water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam, causing mass damage and sweeping away hundreds of buildings.

In Solai, Veronica Wanjiku Ngigi, 67, said she was at home brewing tea with her son at around 8 p.m. when his wife rushed in to say the dam had burst and they needed to get to higher ground immediately.

"We have recovered 38 bodies and many people are missing".

Several people, among them children, were feared trapped in the mud even as a rescue operation by Kenya Red Cross and the Nakuru County Disaster Management was underway.

Arriving at the scene, Interior Minister Fred Matiangi pledged central government assistance to those affected.

The Patel dam is one of three reservoirs that a large-scale farmer in the area owns.

Kenyan authorities and humanitarian organizations airlifted stranded residents to safety and provided aid to isolated communities after weeks of heavy rain and landslides. The flood waters have destroyed an area of farmland larger than New York City, displaced over 260,000 people and drowned around 6,000 livestock. More than 2,000 people are said to have been left homeless. Caught between different extremes, millions of Kenyans are in dire straits.

The floods have also destroyed road networks in some parts of the country since the rains started pounding in March. Military helicopters have been deployed to assist with relief efforts.

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