EU envoys pledge support for Patel Dam burst victims

The European Union has pledged support and emergency assistance following the Patel Dam tragedy in Solai, Nakuru County that killed 44 people, with 40 others still missing.

In a statement, the EU Heads of Mission said they were “greatly saddened” at the news of the tragedy that destroyed an entire village when 70 million litres of water burst out of the Patel Dam walls on Wednesday night.

“The EU Heads of Mission send their sympathy to all the affected communities. The EU is monitoring the evolving situation in Nakuru County as well as the wider flooding situation across Kenya. The Nairobi office of the EU’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) stands ready to support efforts to provide emergency assistance,” read the envoys’ statement.

The village hosted about 60 homesteads on plots measuring an eighth of an acre each, and was home to hundreds of casual labourers who earn a living from the coffee estate irrigated by the dam, the flower farms that dot Solai, and other plantations.

As the 70 million litres of water hurtled towards the residents, it formed a powerful wave about a metre-and-a-half high which swept away everything in its 500-metre-wide path.

The destruction was buried by the eerie dark of the Wednesday night, but became evident when the sun shone its light on Solai Thursday morning.

Cars were swept away and slammed into buildings which were, in turn, washed away to their foundations.

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