NAIROBI, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The mounting toll of deaths and destruction wrought by raging floods and bursting of a water reservoir in Kenya has pushed the country's resilience in the face of disasters to a breaking point, experts have said.
Kenya was again on the global spotlight on Thursday when a private dam located in the northwestern county of Nakuru burst on Wednesday night after a heavy downpour leaving behind a trail of death and devastation.
Government statistics indicated the death toll from collapse of Patel dam located 200km west of the capital of Nairobi reached 44 on Thursday evening and was expected to rise as rescue efforts for the missing intensified.
So far, close to 160 people have died in Kenya as result of heavy downpour that commenced in mid-March and has been accompanied by extensive flooding and bursting of reservoirs.
Fred Matiangi, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and coordination of government led state officials to inspect the damage caused by Patel dam which caved in after torrential downpour.
Matiangi said the government will assist the people displaced by the collapsed reservoir to rebuild their lives through provision of building materials, food and primary healthcare.
"We have set up contingency plans to ensure victims of the collapsed dam are assisted to reconstruct their lives. We are going to help them construct new homes and facilitate their resumption of economic activities like farming," said Matiangi.
He added that Kenya Army officers will join volunteers from relief agencies to intensify the search for missing victims of the burst reservoir whose devastation spread across a 2-kilometer radius.
The bursting of Patel dam built in the middle of a 2,000 acre farm that specializes in growing cut flowers for export, placed additional strain on Kenya's disaster response strategy in the wake of extensive flooding.
Experts regretted that Kenya's capacity to respond to natural disasters such as floods remained weak due to policy gaps, under-funding, inadequate technology and trained personnel.
Robert Muthami, a Nairobi-based environmentalist, said lack of preparedness and lethargic enactment of disaster management strategies at the grassroots level is to blame for higher fatalities and economic losses linked to the current flooding.
"We need to increase budgetary allocation to disaster management and more importantly address their root cause which happens to be climate change," Muthami remarked.
"At the county level, we should invest in climate mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimize the impacts of disasters like the floods being experienced in the country," he added.