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Kenya's burst Patel dam was 'built illegally'

BBC Africa/Maximilian Kasseh, Jr.
Scenes from damage caused by burst dam
Scenes from damage caused by burst dam

The Kenyan dam which burst, killing more than 40 people, was illegal, the country's water authority says.

The dam is one of a number on a sprawling farm near Solai, 190km (120 miles) from the capital, Nairobi.

But none of them had a permit, a Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) spokesman said. The farm's manager has denied any wrongdoing.

The search for dozens more missing people continues amid fears the death toll will rise.

More than 40 people are already known to have lost their lives in Wednesday's disaster, with almost half the victims found so far were children, police said.

An investigation into the tragedy has been announced, with a report into "cause and culpability" requested by the public prosecutor's office within two weeks.

It is likely to take a close look at the dam, which Warma spokeswoman Elizabeth Luvonga said lacked the documents needed.
"None of them have permits. That is why they are illegal," she told Reuters news agency.

But the general manager of the farm, Vinoj Kumar, denied the accusation.

"All these dams were built about 15 to 20 years before. There's no [nothing] illegal," he said.

Meanwhile, the Manager of Kenya’s Patel Dam has blamed bad weather and loose boulders for cracking the water reservoir.

The dam burst Wednesday sending water downstream in Solai Town in Kenya killing at least 41 people.

Dozens of others are still missing and about two thousand residents are made homeless.

The BBC quotes Manager Vinod Jayakumar as saying the dam has been in operation for more than 20 years and other dams in the farm have been operating for much longer.

Mr. Jayakumar sent condolences to the victims’ families adding, the company has been giving out food and clothes to survivors.

He said locals should pray that there won't be more rain.

Meanwhile, the office of Kenya’s Chief Prosecutor, Noordin Haji, has directed the Police Boss, Joseph Boinett, to probe the dam disaster and report in 14 days.

 


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