Patel Dam tragedy: Farm manager speaks - Daily Nation
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Patel Dam tragedy: Farm manager Vinod Jayakumar speaks

Friday May 11 2018

patel dam, Solai

An Ariel view of the damage Energy village in Solai, Nakuru County, suffered after Patel Dam collapsed killing more than 44 people on May 10, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION REPORTER
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The management of Patel Coffee Estates Limited in Solai, where one of the dams collapsed killing at least 48 people, has denied claims that the dams on their property are illegal.

Vinod Jayakumar, a senior manager at the farm, on Friday defended his employer, Patel Mansukul in an interview with Citizen TV and asked residents in the area to pray for the rain to stop as it is the cause of their woes.

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"The dams are not illegal," he said a day after the Water Resources Management Authority said they are unlawful as they have neither been inspected nor authorised by the government agency.

"The farm has existed for almost 60 years and the dam which collapsed has been there for almost 20 years. Just because it happened you can't say it is illegal," said Mr Jayakumar.

He said the breakage of the dam's wall was a natural calamity caused by bad weather in Dundori Forest, where the rivers that flow into the dam spring from.

The manager said that when there is heavy rainfall upstream, boulders and tree stumps are swept into the dam and cause the wall to crack and this is why the disaster took place.

"It's a natural disaster, a natural calamity. It has happened. Now we have to look forward on how we can come out of this crisis," he said.

Mr Jayakumar said the relationship between the farm and the villages around it will remain firm despite the disaster.

"I'm sure the people will have more confidence on us. My dear brothers and sisters, you don't have to feel bad. We are always with you. Like you know Mr Patel and the family more than I know them, we will be with you and please be calm and quiet and be praying to God that there should not be more rain," said Mr Jayakumar.

He said the farm is supplying food and other needs to families displaced by the tragedy.

"We'll make sure they are fed properly," he said.