Members of the National Youth Service carry away a dead body covered in a blanket during the early hours of  May 10, 2018 near Solai, in Kenya's Rift Valley.
Members of the National Youth Service carry away a dead body covered in a blanket during the early hours of May 10, 2018 near Solai, in Kenya's Rift Valley.

At least 40 people were killed when a dam in Kenya's Rift Valley burst late Wednesday following days of heavy rains.

Water swept away numerous homes, farms and businesses after breaking through the Patel Dam in Solai, about 180 kilometers northwest of Nairobi.

A child walks in his house, which was partly destr
A child walks in his house, which was partly destroyed by flooding water after a dam burst, in Solio town near Nakuru, Kenya May 10, 2018.

A witness, Ian Ndegwa, told VOA's Swahili service casualties may be higher than reported. "There are a lot of people still unaccounted for," he said.

He added that police, soldiers and construction crews are in the area, helping to clear roads and look for missing people.

Ndegwa said he thinks the dam could not handle the recent rains.

People gather in front of the broken banks of the
People gather in front of the broken banks of the Patel dam near Solai, in Kenya's Rift Valley, May 10, 2018.

"The embankments were not strong enough, so it broke and we have a big gap in the wall that allowed the water to flow through," he said.

The Rift Valley has seen heavy rains during the past two months, causing floods and mudslides that had already killed more than 130 people.

The Kenyan government said Wednesday the rains had displaced 220,000 people.

Harrison Kamah contributed.