Call for probe of burst dam
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)
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.