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Burst dam at Kenyan rose farm varnished permits, police investigate



By Maggie Fick

SOLAI, Kenya (Reuters) – A dam on a Kenyan commercial farm that burst this week, killing at least 45 people, which was built illegally, the water resource regulator said on Friday, as police opened initial investigation into the disaster.

The earthen flowers on the farm

Kenya's cut-flower industry, which has grown.

Kenya's cut-flower industry, which has grown to become a spotlight on the regulation of Kenya's cut-flower industry, has been growing

One of three people in Europe comes from Kenya and more than 100,000 people work in flower farms, many of which lie in the fertile Rift Valley.

Elizabeth Luvonga, a spokeswoman for the Water Resources Management Authority, which oversees private dams, said other reservoirs on Patel's Farm at Solai, 190 km (120 miles) northwest of Nairobi, so laquered the necessary documents and were illegal.

Water and Sanitation Minister Simon Chelugui said he did not meet the regulations and that the Water Resources Authority had complied with them.

Chelugui added that a team would inspect dams countrywide.

Vinoj Jayakumar, general manager of the 3,500-acre farm, blamed the collapse on torrential rain and denied that the

"How can they say it is illegal?" he told Reuters. It was built 20 years ago. "

Amid domestic reports that the government has failed to carry out a review of the investigation, the chief prosecutor ordered to open an investigation.

SAVED BY TREE

In the village health center, distraught doctor Veronica Achoka recalls the suffering of the community.

"The water swept people 10 km downhill."

At the hospital in the nearby town of Bahati

Further away in the provincial town of Nakuru, Isaac Mwaniki had

"I think the water's force and soil is what got her, "he said. Rescuers managed to save his daughter after the water subsided. Mwaniki said.

After a severe drought last year, two months of heavy rain have affected nearly one million people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda.

More than 150 people have died and 300,000 displaced in Kenya, where the damage runs into millions of dollars.

"We all breathed a sigh of relief when The rainy season started early in March, "said Lane Bunkers of Catholic Relief Services. "But now – two months later – we are seeing the consequences of the drought-ravaged land's inability to absorb all the rain."

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri, Humphrey Malalo, Jackson Njehia, and Maggie Fick; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Ed Cropley and Kevin Liffey)


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