Kenya – The collapse of the « Patel Dam» has left forty-five (45) dead. According to a government spokesman, the dam was illegally built.
The Patel Dam was part of three dams located on the Patel Coffee Estate near Solai, a town a few hundred and twenty (120) kilometers from Nairobi. The farm belongs to Mr. Manskul Patel.
Elizabeth Luvonga, spokeswoman for Kenya’s Water Resources Management Authority, said «the dams have no permits and have not been authorized or inspected by the government.»
Vinod Jayakumar, General Manager of the farm, insists that the dams are legitimate and that their construction is far from illegal. « The farm has been in existence for more than sixty years and the collapsed dam has been there for over twenty years. You can not say it’s illegal just because it collapsed, » he said.
For him, the collapse of the dam is nothing more than a natural disaster caused by the overflowing rivers of the Dundori Forest.
The walls of the dam cracked last Wednesday after heavy rain fell. Hundreds of houses were destroyed and about two thousand five hundred (2,500) inhabitants were impacted. A Police Chief announced Friday that a total of forty-five people have died and that most are children.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyajui said an investigation will be launched to determine if Mr. Patel actually holds permits for these dams.