The death toll in the Kenya dam disaster has risen to 27, according to a local police chief.

Gideon Kibunjah told news agency AFP more bodies had been retrieved since the search and rescue effort began.

“It is a disaster because most people were asleep when the tragedy occurred and their houses were swept away,” he said.

Minister of the Interior CS Fred Matiangi, who arrived in the affected area, near the town of Solai in Nakuru County, this morning, tweeted this picture:

The area, some 190km (120 miles) north-west of the capital, Nairobi, had been experiencing heavy rains.

Last night people nearby heard a loud bang as The Patel dam in Nakuru County broke its walls. It swept hundreds of homes downstream.

Peter Mabae, a member of the Nakuru County Assembly, said he feared the final death toll would be far higher than the current count.

“More than 50 are injured and have been taken to hospital in Subukia,” he told reporters. “We are also very worried as many residents are unaccounted for and we fear they could be buried under the rubble, especially those from the lower areas.”

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