Death toll from Kenya dam wall collapse climbs to 47

Published: May 11, 2018 09:48:40 | Updated: May 13, 2018 12:38:03

An aerial view of rescue efforts near destroyed houses by flooding water after a dam burst in Solio town near Nakuru, Kenya on Thursday - Reuters photo

The death toll from flooding caused by a burst dam wall in Kenya’s Rift Valley rose to 47 on Thursday and could go higher as more bodies are pulled from the mud, the local police chief said on Thursday.

“So far it is 47 dead. We are still on the ground,” Japheth Kioko, the police chief for Rongai division, told Reuters by telephone.

Nakuru governor Lee Kinyanjui said on Twitter that another 40 people were reported missing and a decision had been made to discharge water from another nearby dam as a precaution.

The walls of the reservoir, on top of a hill in Nakuru county, 190 km (120 miles) northwest of Nairobi, gave way late on Wednesday as nearby residents were sitting down to evening meals.

The floodwaters carved out a dark brown chasm in the hillside and swept away everything in their path - powerlines, homes and buildings, including a primary school.

After a severe drought last year, East Africa has been hit by two months of heavy rain, affecting nearly a million people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda. Bridges have been swept away and roads turned into rivers of mud.

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