Multiple people killed, 'huge destruction,' after dam bursts in Kenya, officials say

A dam burst in Kenya’s Rift Valley after weeks of heavy rain, killing at least 38 people and causing “huge destruction,” officials said Thursday.

A search-and-rescue mission was ongoing.

The Patel Dam ruptured late Wednesday in Solai, in Nakuru County, about 120 miles northwest of Nairobi.

“The water has caused huge destruction of both life and property. The extent of the damage has yet to be ascertained,” Lee Kinyanjui, the governor of Nakuru, said in a statement.

The Kenya Red Cross said it had saved 39 people so far as it continued rescue efforts.

Local leaders were concerened that the death toll could rise as “many people” remained unaccounted for, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported. People were feared to be trapped in thick mud stretching over a mile.

Citizens reported hearing an “explosion” before the water burst from Patel Dam and swept away hundreds of homes, according to the Nation.

East Africa has experienced heavy rain over the past two months, killing 132 people and displacing 222,456 in 32 counties since March, Reuters reported.

Kinyanjui assured residents that "we will do our best to take affected families to safety and help them get medical attention."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.