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Kenya dam bursts, killing at least 42

At least 42 people have been killed after a dam burst in a town north of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the local governor has told AFP.

The East African country has been battling heavy rains and floods.

“Forty-two dead, it’s a conservative estimate. There are still more in the mud. We are working on recovery,” said the governor of Nakuru County, Susan Kihika.

The dam burst near the Rift Valley town of Mai Mahiu, washing away houses and cutting off a road.

Earlier today, the Kenya Red Cross said it had taken several people to a health facility in Mai Mahiu due to flash flooding.

Pictures posted on the X accounts of Kenyan media, Kenya Red Cross and the highway authorities showed scenes of the aftermath of the flooding, with broken trees and at least one car stuck among logs and mud.

Kenya’s education ministry today postponed the start of a new school term by one week.

“The devastating effects of the rains in some of the schools is so severe that it will be imprudent to risk the lives of learners and staff before watertight measures are put in place to ensure adequate safety of all affected school communities,” the education ministry said in a statement.

Roads and bridges destroyed by floods

The floods have destroyed roads and bridges across Kenya.

A road underpass at the international airport in the capital Nairobi was flooded, but flights were running as usual, the Kenya Airports Authority said yesterday.

Hydroelectric dams were filled to capacity, which could lead to massive downstream overflow, a government spokesperson said.

Previously, officials said 76 people had lost their lives in Kenya since March, as heavier than usual rains batter East Africa, compounded by the El Niño weather pattern.

Several dozen people were killed in May 2018 when a dam burst in Solai, also in Nakuru County, during torrential rains and floods.

East Africa was hit by record floods during the last rainy season in late 2023. Scientists say climate change is causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events.

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