BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

A Dam Burst In Kenya And The Pictures Are Devastating

At least forty-two people died in the flooding that followed the dam breaking, officials said, 20 of them children.

Posted on May 10, 2018, at 1:40 p.m. ET

A dam burst in central Kenya on Wednesday night, killing at least 42 people and leaving hundreds more without homes.

AFP/Getty Images

The privately owned dam broke its confines around 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, residents of Solai said, sending water rushing towards the village at tremendous speeds.

Suleiman Mbatiah / AFP / Getty Images

"When this tragedy occurred, the lights went off, the [electricity] poles were washed away and the whole town was rendered dark," Lee Kinyanjui, governor of Nakuru county, told local KTN News.

"So far we have identified 8 bodies that were swept away by the floods..." Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui talks to @KTNNews on the latest developments following the collapse of the walls of Patel dam in Solai, Nakuru County last night @BettyMKyallo #KTNNewsCentre https://t.co/SPTL6PAVBF

In the aftermath, homes were left destroyed by the rushing floodwaters, with debris strewn throughout the area, leaving at least 300 families homeless.

Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

At least 2,500 people were affected by the sudden deluge, including those in farmland surrounding the dam.

Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

As the floodwaters began to recede, the local Nakuru Level 5 Hospital was filled with survivors, many either unaware of what happened to their families or mourning those they had lost.

Pius Mzee, a father of four, told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper that he tried to escape the floodwaters with his 4- and 6-year-old daughters, but was overtaken by the current."My wife was with two children and immediately it happened, I could not trace them. Up to now, I do not know where they are," Mzee said.Meanwhile, George Wanjala, a father of three, "could not hold back his tears [when he] said he could not save any of his children, including a two-month-old baby."
Suleiman Mbatiah / AFP / Getty Images

Pius Mzee, a father of four, told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper that he tried to escape the floodwaters with his 4- and 6-year-old daughters, but was overtaken by the current.

"My wife was with two children and immediately it happened, I could not trace them. Up to now, I do not know where they are," Mzee said.

Meanwhile, George Wanjala, a father of three, "could not hold back his tears [when he] said he could not save any of his children, including a two-month-old baby."

The 1-acre-large dam is one of three owned by Mansukul Patel, a large-scale irrigation farmer who operates in the area, according to the Nation.

Gov. Kinyanjui said there was an investigation underway to see if Patel actually had a license to operate the dams. The other two remain intact but are very full.
Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

Gov. Kinyanjui said there was an investigation underway to see if Patel actually had a license to operate the dams. The other two remain intact but are very full.

Search-and-rescue operations are still ongoing alongside cleanup efforts. Members of the Kenya Defense Forces, Red Cross, police, and local government are all pitching in to help.

Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

The rainy season in Kenya has been particularly deadly this year after a crippling drought — at least 164 people have died across the country as a result of the rains and more than 200,000 displaced.

Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

CORRECTION

Nakuru is a county in Kenya. An earlier version of this piece said it was a province.

ADVERTISEMENT