Deaths, 'huge destruction' after Kenyan dam bursts

The water released from the dam flooded villages sweeping away homes leaving residents chest-deep in water.

He said Nakuru County was working with the Kenya Red Cross in a search and rescue operation.

Local police commander, Japheth Kioko, said that the incident occurred on Wednesday evening after Patel Dam in Subukia, township in the city of Nakuru, broke its banks causing destruction and deaths.

After a severe drought previous year, East Africa has been hit by two months of heavy rain that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The flooding could yet get worse, with heavy rains forecast to continue in the Rift Valley and the Lake Victoria basin over the next few weeks.

A search-and-rescue mission was ongoing.

Villagers said it started with a loud rumble, then houses collapsed one by one under an approaching wall of water.

Matiang'i did not give numbers in his address to the press but said more people were likely trapped. He was blind so he could not run. "The extent of the damage has yet to be ascertained", Lee Kinyanjui, the governor of Nakuru, said in a statement.

"We heard from colleagues on the ground that they are anxious that two other dams in the area could also burst", Ishimwe added.

At least 38 people were killed on Wednesday when a dam burst in southern Kenya. "All our houses have been ruined". Local leaders are seeking to find out whether the farmer was licensed to erect those dams, amid concerns about the condition of the remaining two which are also said to be full, a BBC correspondent said.

The Kenyan Red Cross estimates that up to 500 families were affected by the disaster, which took place some 150 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of Nairobi. Military helicopters and personnel in the past week have been deployed to rescue people marooned by the flooding.