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November 18, 2018

Nakuru dam death toll could be higher - Matiangi

Some of the houses that were swept away by water after Solai Patel Dam burst its banks. COURTESY
Some of the houses that were swept away by water after Solai Patel Dam burst its banks. COURTESY

The death toll from the Solai dam tragedy in Nakuru could be higher as the magnitude of the disaster is huge, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i has said.

Matiang'i said the multi-agency teams on the ground have assessed the situation and established that more lives are likely to have been lost in the tragedy.

The CS was speaking at Wilson Airport after he arrived from visiting the scene.

"I want to prepare Kenyans mentally that the magnitude of the tragedy is huge. The teams are likely to recover and retrieve more bodies from the debris and mud," Matiang'i told Citizen TV at Wilson.

He was accompanied by IG Joseph Boinett.

By Thursday noon, 32 people had been confirmed dead while 41 others injured.

"Out of the 41 who had been injured, 37 have been treated and discharged while four are admitted at the Nakuru hospital. Search and recovery has been intensified and by 6 pm today we shall be able to give a comprehensive statement," he said.

Read; Death toll from Nakuru dam tragedy rises to 32

Matiang'i while asking Kenyans to stop speculations on the tragedy said, for now, it is essentially an accident but investigations to establish what exactly happened have been launched.

"We are handling this matter with an open mind to find out whether the accident would have been prevented. For now, it is an ordinary accident where a dam broke its banks and water flew sweeping families along the path," he said.

"As much as it is a tragedy it has however provided an opportunity to examine the type of works conducted on our dams especially those privately owned," Matiang'i said.

He said the water Ministry has deployed an able team of engineers to look on all the dams upstream to avoid reccurence of such tragedy.

Matiang'i said rescue teams led by KDF, NYS, Kenya Police and Kenya Red Cross are also working out to figure out how to address the challenges that have slowed down the pace of search and rescue.

He said enough food supplies have been taken to the families affected who have been evacuated to AIC Solai grounds.

The CS, however, refuted claims that the government had shown laxity in responding to the disaster.

"There is no confusion on how we coordinate our roles in intergovernmental departments. I can assure you there was no time lost in our response as we managed to assemble all resources at our disposal and transported them to the site," he said.

He added, "Let us not speculate and point out fingers as to whether the owner of the dam is to blame or government. Everything will be investigated and reviewed for sensible conclusions after which we shall come up with suggestions and remedial actions".

Also read: Nakuru dam tragedy regrettable, rains exceeded state's expectations - Kiraithe

 

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