At least 45 people die in Kenya after dam collapses in heavy rains

Heavy rains have been pounding the country since mid-March and the meteorology department has warned of more rainfall.

At least 45 people have died and dozens are missing after a dam collapsed in Kenya early on Monday.

Flood waters submerged houses and cut off a major road, the government’s interior ministry said.

The Old Kijabe Dam, located in the Mai Mahiu area of the Great Rift Valley region that is prone to flash floods, collapsed and water cascaded downstream, carrying with it mud, rocks and uprooted trees, police official Stephen Kirui said.

Vehicles were entangled in the debris on one of Kenya’s busiest highways and paramedics treated the injured.

The Kenya Red Cross said 109 people were hospitalised and 49 others were reported missing.

William Lokai told Citizen TV that he was woken up by a loud bang and shortly after, water filled his house.

He escaped through the roof together with his brother and children.

Children fleeing floodwaters that wreaked havoc at Mororo, border of Tana River and Garissa counties, North Eastern Kenya. / Credit: AP

Ongoing rains in Kenya have caused flooding that has already killed nearly 100 people and postponed the opening of schools.

Heavy rains have been pounding the country since mid-March and there are warnings of more rain.

Kenya’s Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki ordered the inspection of all public and private dams and water reservoirs within 24 hours starting on Monday afternoon following the fatal collapse earlier in the day.

People gather around a bus that was swept away after a dam burst, in Kamuchiri Village Mai Mahiu, Nakuru County, Kenya. / Credit: AP

The ministry said recommendations for evacuations and resettlement would be done after the inspection.

The Kenya National Highways Authority issued an alert warning motorists to brace for heavy traffic and debris that blocked the roads around Naivasha and Narok, west of the capital, Nairobi.

The wider East African region is experiencing flooding due to the heavy rains, and 155 people have reportedly died in Tanzania while more than 200,000 people have been affected in neighboring Burundi.

A man swims from a submerged church compound following heavy rains in North Eastern Kenya / Credit: AP

A boat capsized in Kenya’s northern Garissa county on Sunday night, and the Kenyan Red Cross said it had rescued 23 people but more than a dozen people were still missing.

Kenya’s main airport was flooded on Saturday, forcing some flights to be diverted, as videos of a flooded runway, terminals and cargo section were shared online.

More than 200,000 people across Kenya have been hit by the floods, with houses in flood-prone areas submerged and people seeking refuge in schools.

President William Ruto had instructed the National Youth Service to provide land for use as a temporary camp for those affected.

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