Death toll rises to 10 in the Patel Dam tragedy

Somber mood has engulfed Solai, Subukia sub county of Nakuru after 10 people died following collapse of Patel dam in the area on Wednesday night.

The dam broke its banks at around 7.00pm after which water swept nearby homes causing extensive damage.

Search and rescue operation kicked off immediately led by police, members of the public and NYS servicemen and by 1.00am six bodies had been retrieved downstream.

This even as part of Solai Boys high school was damaged by ranging floods while residents of the nearby Marigu, Ruiru and Akuisi farms were forced to flee for safety.

The Nakuru county government disaster management team arrived at the scene half an hour later and began evacuating survivors to Bahati sub county hospital and Nakuru level five hospital.

Fifteen ambulances from the county government, private hospitals, geothermal development corporation and private companies had a busy time transporting casualties to the health facilities even as members of the public went down stream to search more bodies.

Addressing media at the scene, Rongai Deputy county commissioner Julius Kavita said that the exact number of the dead could not be immediately established as it was dark.

The search and rescue mission was called off at 2.00pm after Governor Lee Kinyanjui announced that a command centre has already been established at Solai Assistant county commissioner’s offices in order to help account for those who are still missing.

Nakuru East Deputy county commissioner Omar Salat who is doubling as the acting Nakuru county commissioner assured the victims of the government’s support.

“The national government will work closely with the county government in order to ensure food, medical care and beddings are supplied to the victims” he said.

Although the actual number of victims is yet to be established, the Kenya Red Cross society has said that they could be in their hundreds. Unknown number of people are still missing.

Following calls by the locals to have one dam present in the farm to be demolished, Governor Lee Kinyanjui cautioned them against demolishing the dam adding that engineers will be visiting Patel farm to carry out a compliance inspection.

This even as the entire Solai trading centre was scattered with helmets, utensils and fish from the dam with members of the public watching helplessly.

Kenya power emergency response team was called in to disconnect electricity wires after several electricity poles fell down causing a black out.

Not even the high mast county government flood lights were spared as only two were left working in the entire trading centre.Rongai OCPD Joseph Kioko described the situation as terrible.

Subukia MP Kinuthia Gachobe said that after receiving information about collapse of the dam, he mobilised NYS servicemen from Subukia who moved in and began rescue and search operation.

“More people are feared to have been swept down the flood course” he said.

At Marigu B village, water found its way through a fault and emerged some seven kilometres away at Murram trading centre causing panic among locals.Search and rescue mission continues this morning.

 

[Photo/ Washory wa Subukia]: Rescuers at the scene of Patel Dam in Subukia on Wednesday night.