Call for probe of burst dam

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

SO­LAI: Kenya’s chief prose­cu­tor has or­dered po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate a dam-burst on a com­mer­cial farm in the Rift Val­ley that killed dozens of peo­ple as a wall of wa­ter tore down a hill­side, oblit­er­at­ing ev­ery­thing in its path.

At least 44 peo­ple were killed when the reser­voir on the farm, which grew roses for ex­port to Europe, burst its banks on Wed­nes­day night af­ter heavy rains.

Another 40 peo­ple have been re­ported miss­ing.

The public prose­cu­tor’s of­fice said the po­lice chief had been or­dered “to carry out thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions to es­tab­lish the cause and cul­pa­bil­ity if any” be­hind the dis­as­ter and file a re­port within two weeks.

The Daily Na­tion news­pa­per quoted gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials as say­ing the dam and others on the 1 416ha So­lai farm, 190km north-west of Nairobi, had not been cleared by gov­ern­ment engi­neers.

Vil­lagers had com­plained when the dams were built, ac­cus­ing the owner of de­priv­ing them of ac­cess to river wa­ter it was re­ported.

Vi­noj Ku­mar, the gen­eral man­ager of the farm, blamed the dam wall col­lapse on tor­ren­tial rain in a for­est above the dam and de­nied that it was de­fec­tive or had not re­ceived the nec­es­sary ap­provals.

“How can they say it is il­le­gal? It was not built to­day or yes­ter­day. It was built 20 years back,” he said.

At the vil­lage health cen­tre, Dr Veron­ica Achoka re­counted the suf­fer­ing of the com­mu­nity since the dam burst.

“The wa­ter swept peo­ple 10km down­hill. Many bod­ies were found that far away.

“There’s so much prop­erty de­struc­tion,” she said.

At a nearby hos­pi­tal , dozens were be­ing treated with in­juries, she said.– Reuters/ African News Agency (ANA)

PIC­TURE: REUTERS/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

A mil­i­tary of­fi­cer as­sesses a dam­aged car on Thurs­day af­ter a dam burst the day be­fore, flood­ing homes and killing 44 peo­ple in the town of So­lai near Nakuru, Kenya.

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