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Kenya Dam Bursts, 42 Dead, Rescue Operations Underway for Survivors

In Nakuru County's Mai Mahiu area, a devastating event unfolded as a dam burst its banks, resulting in the loss of at least 42 lives, according to Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika. The calamity struck near Mai Mahiu, washing away houses and severing a crucial road. Rescue operations are underway as responders diligently sift through debris, hoping to find survivors amidst the wreckage.

This tragic incident adds to the toll of casualties caused by the heavy rains and floods that have been afflicting Kenya during the March-May wet season. The total death count has risen to 120, with East Africa experiencing heavier-than-usual rainfall exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern.

In a separate incident, the Kenya Red Cross reported the retrieval of two bodies after a boat capsized in Tana River County over the weekend. The boat, carrying a significant number of passengers, sank in the flooded river, leading to a harrowing scene captured on video.

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The impact of the ongoing heavy rains extends beyond loss of life, with flash floods submerging roads and displacing over 130,000 people across 24,000 households, particularly in Nairobi. As a result, the Ministry of Education has postponed the reopening of schools by one week to ensure the safety of learners and staff.

The devastation isn't limited to Kenya alone, as neighbouring Tanzania and Burundi also grapple with flooding and displacement of thousands due to relentless rains. Uganda has faced its share of challenges, with storms causing riverbanks to burst, displacing hundreds of villagers and claiming lives.

The tragic dam collapse in Mai Mahiu echoes a similar disaster that occurred six years ago in Solai, Nakuru County, claiming 48 lives. Both incidents underline the vulnerability of communities to natural disasters exacerbated by climate patterns like El Nino.

As the region confronts these challenges, the World Meteorological Organization has highlighted the severity of the current El Nino, ranking it among the five strongest ever recorded. This underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and enhance resilience in vulnerable communities.

April 29, 2024 3:46 p.m. 4653

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