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State, county to provide aid to victims

Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy

The government in conjunction with Nakuru county government will provide foodstuff and other relief services to families displaced by the Solai Dam tragedy.

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i said at least 450 families living in the slopes of the dam were displaced by flash floods after the dam broke its earthen walls, sweeping anything in its path. He said the death toll, as at 4pm yesterday, stood at 32 with dozens hospitalised. But by the time of going to press, the toll had risen to more than 40.

Matiang’i, who led a delegation of government officials in a visit to the scene, warned that the death toll could rise given the magnitude of the disaster. “Out of the 41 who had been injured, 37 have been treated and discharged while four are admitted to hospital. Search and recovery has been intensified,” he said.

The CS said a multi-agency team, comprising officers from the Kenya Defence Forces, National Youth Service Kenya Police and Kenya Red Cross society, was conduction rescue and recovery operations.

“We are calling on the relatives of victims affected families to be patient as the operations continue,” said Matiang’i. He commended Nakuru County government for swift response to the tragedy.

The CS urged Kenyans to stop speculation on the tragedy. “We are handling this matter with an open mind to find out whether the accident would have been prevented. For now, it is an ordinary accident,” he said. Devolution Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa said engineers would inspect condition of other dams in the Patel farm upstream.

“We will provide food and medical items to affected families. We will ensure other eight dams nearby meet required standards,” he said. Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Chimwaga Mwongo was appointed head of the rescue operation and will be directly reporting to Matiang’i.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the county would work with the National government to ensure the rescue operation is smooth.

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