Kenya: 20 dead, thousands displaced following dam tragedy

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A dam burst on a flower farm in Kenya's Rift Valley after weeks of torrential rain, unleashing a "sea of water" that smashed into two villages and killed at least 32 people, officials and survivors said.

The burst happened in Solai, Nakuru county, 190 kilometres northwest of the capital Nairobi, late on Wednesday. "The extent of the damage has yet to be ascertained", Lee Kinyajui, governor of Nakuru, said in a statement.

Veronica Wanjiku Ngigi, 67, said she was at home brewing tea with her son at around 8 pm (1700 GMT) when his wife rushed in to say the dam had burst and they needed to get to higher ground immediately.

He said the incident occurred on Wednesday evening, causing extensive damage to homes, schools and businesses.

The Kenyan Red Cross tweeted that 39 people had been taken to the hospital as a result of the busted dam.

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Regional criminal investigation commander Gideon Kibunja who confirmed the death toll said several people are still not accounted for after Nakuru's Patel Dam broke its banks.

More than 130 people have died in the last two months and more than 220,000 displaced as raging floods wreak havoc across the country.

The mega dam is located inside the farm of prominent farmer Mansukul Patel in Solai. The flood waters have destroyed an area of farmland larger than New York City, displaced over 260,000 people and drowned around 6,000 livestock. Military helicopters and personnel have for the past week been deployed to rescue people marooned by the flooding.

A billion Kenyan shillings is worth roughly £7.3million.

The wet weather has contributed to an ongoing cholera outbreak in Kenya, and an increasing number of chikungunya virus cases-spread by mosquitoes-are also being reported.

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