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More than 30 killed in Kenya after dam collapse

The dam in the Rift Valley region of the country burst its walls, sweeping away hundreds of homes, officials say.

Rift Valley

More than 30 people have been killed in Kenya's Rift Valley after a dam burst its banks following weeks of torrential rain that also forced hundreds from their homes, officials said.

Water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam in Solai, Nakuru County, on Wednesday night, sweeping away hundreds of homes, including those on the expansive Nyakinyua Farm, which borders the reservoir.

"We have recovered 38 bodies and many people are missing. It is a disaster," Rongai police Chief Joseph Kioko said on Thursday.

Up to 40 people were rescued from under the mud - many more are feared trapped - and taken to hospital on Thursday morning by the Kenya Red Cross and Nakuru County disaster management teams.

Officials said the water and mud spewed out of the reservoir submerged homes over a radius of nearly two kilometres.

"It was a sea of water. My neighbour was killed when the water smashed through the wall of his house. He was blind so he could not run. They found his body in the morning," Veronica Wanjiku Ngigi, 67, told Reuters news agency. 

READ MORE: Of climate change and Kenya's rains

"My other neighbours also died. All our houses have been ruined. There is another dam which is also overflowing which is looking risky. We are scared."

Almost an entire village was swept away by silt and water, Gideon Kibunja, the county police chief in charge of criminal investigations, said.

At least 132 people have died and more than 225,000 displaced, from floods caused by seasonal rains since March, according to a government statement.

Military helicopters and personnel have for the past week been deployed to rescue people marooned by the flooding.

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