HomeBusinessKenya Dam Bursts, Kills At Least 42: Governor

Kenya Dam Bursts, Kills At Least 42: Governor

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Mai Mahiu, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 29th April, 2024) At least 42 people died when a dam burst its banks near a town in Kenya’s Rift Valley, the local governor told AFP on Monday, as heavy rain and floods hit the country.

The dam exploded near Mai Mahiu in Nakuru county, washing away houses and cutting a road, with rescuers digging through debris to find survivors.

“Forty-two have died, it is a conservative estimate. There are still more in the mud, we are working on recovery,” said Nakuru governor Susan Kihika.

Monday’s dam collapse raises the total death toll over the March-May wet season to 120 as heavier-than-normal rainfall pounds East Africa, exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Red Cross said on Monday it had retrieved two bodies after a boat carrying “a large number of people” capsized over the weekend in floods in Kenya’s eastern Tana River county, adding that 23 more have been saved.

Video footage shared online and broadcast on television showed the overcrowded boat sinking, with people screaming as onlookers watched in horror.

On Saturday, officials said 76 people had lost their lives in Kenya since March.

Flash floods have submerged roads and neighborhoods, displacing more than 130,000 people across 24,000 homes, many of them in the capital Nairobi, according to government figures released on Saturday.

Schools have been forced to remain closed following the mid-term holidays, after the education ministry announced on Monday that it would delay their reopening for a week due to “continued heavy rain”.

“The devastating effects of the rain in some of the schools are so serious that it will be unwise to risk the lives of learners and staff before implementing water-tight measures to ensure adequate security,” said Education Minister Ezekiel Machogu.

“Based on this assessment, the Ministry of Education has decided to postpone the reopening of all Primary and Secondary schools by one week, until Monday, May 6, 2024,” he said.

– Turmoil across the region –

The monsoons have also wreaked havoc in nearby Tanzania, where at least 155 people have been killed in floods and landslides.

In Burundi, one of the world’s poorest countries, about 96,000 people have been displaced by months of incessant rains, the United Nations and the government said earlier this month.

Uganda has also suffered heavy storms which have caused riverbanks to burst, with two deaths confirmed and several hundred villagers displaced.

Monday’s dam collapse comes six years after a similar accident in Solai in Nakuru county killed 48 people, sending millions of liters of muddy waters raging through homes and destroying power lines.

The May 2018 disaster involving a private reservoir on a coffee estate also followed weeks of heavy rain that triggered deadly floods and mudslides.

El Nino is a naturally occurring climate pattern usually associated with increased heat around the world, resulting in drought in some parts of the world and heavy rain in others.

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