, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – At least 27 people have been killed when Patel Dam burst overnight flooding villages in the Subukia area of Nakuru County.
The toll, the highest in a single flood-related incident now brings to over 160 the number of people who have died countrywide as a result of floods since heavy rains started in March.
The Wednesday night incident occurred at around 9 o’clock in the evening when Patel Dam broke its banks sweeping villages in the Solai area of Subukia.
“We have so far found 27 bodies and the search and rescue operation is still going on,” Gideon Kibunja, CID chief for Rift Valley region told Capital FM from the scene.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi flew from Nairobi to lead the operation on Thursday morning and was set to issue a statement over the tragedy at the private dam used for irrigation and fish farming.
Our Correspondent at the scene said she had scene gory images of bodies, including of young children, trapped by debris while others were dug out of mud or retrieved from their damaged houses which were washed away by flood waters.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) reported that thirty-nine people had been rescued in a joint operation with the county government and were admitted to Bahati sub-county and Nakuru County Referral Hospital.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said Nakuru County was working closely with KRCS as well as the security agencies to coordinate rescue missions.
Among villages affected are those in the farmlands of Nyakinyua, Endao, and Arutani where hundreds of people were displaced.
Also affected were Solai Boys High School and Arutani Girls Secondary School.
Statistics released by the Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho on Wednesday indicated that 222,456 people have so far been displaced as a result of ongoing rains in flood-prone areas.
According to Kibicho, the government had so far distributed food and medicine worth Sh600 million in thirty-two affected counties.
“The government will continue carrying out various mitigation activities across the floods affected parts of the country to; rescue marooned citizens, distribute food, medicine and water, and restore water and sanitation systems to ensure hygienic conditions,” Kibicho said in a statement.
According to KRCS, counties of Turkana, Tana River, Garissa, Isiolo, Taita Taveta, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, West Pokot, Samburu and Narok are the most his by the latest spate of floods.
Since March when heavry rains started pouring for instance, at least 8,450 acres of farmland have been submerged in water with an estimated 6,000 livestock killed.
The floods have also destroyed road networks in some parts of the country.
Security services have deployed choppers in areas where roads have been rendered impassible to rescue marooned civilian populations.