Kenya to investigate dam disaster

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Kenya to investigate dam disaster

The Herald

NAIROBI. — Kenya’s chief prosecutor yesterday ordered police to investigate a dam-burst on a commercial farm in the Rift Valley that killed dozens of people as a wall of water tore down a hillside, obliterating everything in its path.

At least 44 people were killed when the reservoir on the farm, which grew roses for export to Europe, burst its banks on Wednesday night after heavy rains. Another 40 people have been reported missing.

The public prosecutor’s office said on Twitter, the police chief had been ordered “to carry out thorough investigations to establish cause and culpability if any” behind the disaster and file a report within two weeks.

The Daily Nation newspaper quoted government officials as saying the dam and others on the 3,500-acre Solai farm, 190 km northwest of Nairobi, had not been cleared by government engineers.

Villagers had also complained when the dams were built, accusing the farm-owner of depriving them of access to river water, the paper reported.

Vinoj Kumar, general manager of the farm, blamed the dam wall collapse on torrential rain in a forest above the dam and denied that it was defective or had not received the necessary approvals.

“How can they say it is illegal?” he told Reuters. “It was not built today or yesterday. It was built 20 years back.”

As muddy brown water coursed through the dirt road running through the village of Solai, police at a checkpoint waved through lorries filled with sacks of rice brought by the Kenyan Red Cross. — Reuters.

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