Kenya: Dozens killed after dam collapses as floods cause widespread devastation

Kenyan police say at least 40 people have died after a dam collapsed in the west of the country.

A wall of water from the Old Kijabe Dam - located in the Mai Mahiu area of the Great Rift Valley region - swept away homes and vehicles, police official Stephen Kirui told the Associated Press news agency.

"We have so far recovered 42 bodies, which include 17 minors, following the early morning incident where a dam burst its banks in Kijabe area and rescue and search operations are going on," he said.

It follows weeks of torrential downpours and flooding that has already killed nearly 100 people in Kenya - and destroyed roads and bridges.

More than 200,000 people across the country have been affected, with homes in flood-prone areas submerged and people seeking refuge in schools.

The ongoing floods have also postponed primary and secondary schools from reopening for a new term.

"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.

Kenya's international airport in the capital Nairobi was flooded on Saturday, forcing some flights to be diverted.

The country's meteorological department has warned of more rainfall.

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Dozens more have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by intense downpours in other East African countries, including Tanzania and Burundi.

East Africa was hit by record floods during the last rainy season in late 2023.