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September 26, 2018

Heavy rainfall caused Solai Dam burst, Patel says, promises help

A man walks past a house which was destroyed after water from Patel Dam swept a residential area in Solai, May 10, 2018. /BEN NDONG'A
A man walks past a house which was destroyed after water from Patel Dam swept a residential area in Solai, May 10, 2018. /BEN NDONG'A

The bursting of Patel Dam in Nakuru points to heavy rainfall in Dundori Forest, chairman Mansukh Patel has said.

Patel is the owner of the dam whose raging waters swept through a village, leaving at least 47 people dead.

In a statement on Tuesday, the farmer explained further that the rains eroded the soil.

"With high pressure, water accompanied by dead stumps, logs and big boulders hit the wall of the dam causing a huge gush of water into the farm and outlying settlements," he said.

More on this: 40 still missing as Solai deaths hit 48

Patel said they were working round the clock to help affected families.

"We stand united with our community in Solai wholeheartedly. We appreciate the grace with which the government and non-governmental organisations have handled the situation," he said.

Patel further said he will work with the government to rebuild what has been lost and restore normalcy in the community.

Last week, the water authority said the was built illegally. 

The dam is one of a number on a sprawling farm near Solai.

None of them had a permit, a Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) spokesman said, but Patel denied any wrongdoing.

An investigation into the tragedy has been announced, with a report into "cause and culpability" requested by DPP Noordin Haji within two weeks.

Read: Patel Dam was built illegally - water authority

Also read: Uhuru mourns Solai 48 as state orders countrywide inspection of dams

When he visited the scene on Monday afternoon, Haji promised the families thorough investigations and justice.

He asked the public to be patient and allow the completion of investigations.

"Those who erred during the construction of the killer dam will face full the force of the law," he said.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mwongo Chimwanga asked families to register their missing relatives.

A boy's body was found in a coffee plantation in the area on Monday morning while a rescued man died at the ICU of Nakuru Level 5 Hospital at night.

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