Red Cross declares floods national disaster after Solai Dam horror


Red Cross declares floods national disaster after Solai Dam horror

In Summary

  • The effects of the floods in Kenya have reached the proportion of a national disaster, the Kenya Red Cross has said.
  • This comes after the tragic Patel Dam incident that left 44 people dead and over 5,000 displaced.
  • Local media reports indicate that almost half of those confirmed dead are children.

The effects of the floods in Kenya have reached the proportion of a national disaster, the Kenya Red Cross has said.

This comes after the tragic Solai Dam incident that left 44 people dead and over 5,000 families displaced.

40 people are still missing even as search and rescue operations resumed on Friday morning.

Local media reports indicate that almost half of those who died after the dam burst its banks are children.

“It is a double tragedy because communities that were affected by drought are now marooned by floods. Its severity will be seen once the rains are over,” Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said in a statement on Thursday.

His sentiments were echoed by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. who urged the government to officially declare the tragedy a national disaster.

The KCRS statement noted that Patel Dam is one of three others owned by a private investor who uses the water harvested from rain to irrigate his flower farms.

There are apparently four other dams in the area that are posing danger to those still living near the water reservoirs.

Reports have emerged that the owner had been warned about an impending disaster but failed to heed calls to enhance safety standards.

On Thursday, a government delegation led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Education PS Belio Kipsang’ and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett visited Solai to assess the extent of the damage.

The Education PS later announced that Solai Boys Secondary School would remain closed indefinitely as its classrooms were destroyed.

State House later released a statement on Twitter terming the tragedy as saddening.

Deputy William Ruto on his part said contractors must follow the law when building dams to avert tragedies such as the one caused by Patel Dam.

He spoke on Thursday during a meeting with senior officials from the Water and Agriculture ministries.

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