Kenyan dam built illegally, says water authority

Published: May 11, 2018 20:44:15 | Updated: May 14, 2018 12:43:44

The Kenyan dam which burst, killing more than 40 people, was illegal, the country's water authority said on Friday.

The dam is one of a number on a sprawling farm near Solai, 190km (120 miles) from the capital, Nairobi.

But none of them had a permit, a Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) spokesman said. The farm's manager has denied any wrongdoing, reports BBC.

The search for dozens more missing people continues amid fears the death toll will rise.

More than 40 people are already known to have lost their lives in Wednesday's disaster, with almost half the victims found so far were children, police said.

An investigation into the tragedy has been announced, with a report into "cause and culpability" requested by the public prosecutor's office within two weeks.

It is likely to take a close look at the dam, which Warma spokeswoman Elizabeth Luvonga said lacked the documents needed.

"None of them have permits. That is why they are illegal," she told Reuters news agency.

But the general manager of the farm, Vinoj Kumar, denied the accusation.

"All these dams were built about 15 to 20 years before. There's no [nothing] illegal," he said.

The dam burst at about 21:00 local time (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, sending a reported 70m litres of water down towards the homes below.

According to Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper, the wall of water was about a metre-and-a-half high, and 500m wide.

It destroyed everything in its path - including a primary school and power lines.

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