Solai Dam Tragedy: What we know so far

State House has spoken after the 41 were confirmed dead.

A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity told that the operation which has been ongoing for nearly a day, has only targeted a section of the site, adding that the retrieved bodies are of people who were trying to flee the waters.

He added that hundreds could have been trapped at the centre of the tragedy given over 300 homes were swept away at a time many people were at home, preparing to sleep.

"We found 11 of the bodies covered with mud at a coffee plantation and these are people who may have been escaping but could not make it due to the force and speed of the water from the flooded dam," he said.

He added: "Most of them are women and children who could not have been able to run fast, and the elderly."

The privately owned Patel dam, used for irrigation and fish farming, burst on Wednesday evening in Solai destroying over 300 homes, and property of unknown value.

The dam is largely surrounded by an informal settlement housing casual labourers who work on nearby farms.

"The search and rescue exercise is ongoing and more bodies have been retrieved. The death toll is now 41," said area police Chief Gideon Kibunjah.

He added: "It is a disaster because most people were asleep when the tragedy occurred and their houses were swept away."

State House Message

State House, through its spokesperson Mr Manoah Esipisu on Thursday afternoon said that the government is assessing the damage and would issue a comprehensive statement upon receipt of full details.

“The Cabinet Secretary Interior and the Inspector General of Police are on the ground. Relevant authorities will issue a comprehensive statement once we have full details.

“We are saddened by the loss of lives and property occasioned by the bursting of Patel dam in Solai, Subukia. First responders have been on the ground and we commend them for the work they are doing in the rescue efforts,” Esipisu said via Twitter.

The Kenyan Red Cross on Thursday gave an estimate that up to 500 families may have been affected by the disaster.

"We have set up a centre near the scene for families to report missing members to enable us to reunite them," said Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.

Several villages were affected around Nakuru, and already Solai Boys’ School has indefinitely been closed by the government. Dozens of other schools remain closed in most parts of the country over floods, especially in Siaya County.

Flash Floods

For nearly two months now, rains in the country have led to flash floods in major cities including Nairobi and Mombasa, and other areas including Tana River, Nakuru, Narok and Nakuru.

The government on Wednesday revealed that over 220,000 people have been displaced by flooding as heavy rains hit the country after three consecutive failed rainy seasons had left it in drought.

Last week, the Kenya Red Cross said that at least 21,000 acres of farming land has been submerged in water with an estimated 20,000 animals killed.

The floods have also destroyed road networks in some parts of the East African country and in some cases the military has stepped in to airlift residents from submerged houses. Narok-Mahi-Mahiu Highway and Suswa in Narok County.

The Red Cross appealed last week for Sh500 million to help those affected. The death toll due to floods now stands at over 190.

Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang'i has ordered for a head count of people in the area to ascertain those missing.

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