Solai Dam Tragedy in Kenya

May 29, 2018

Heavy spring rains and widespread flooding has killed more than 150 people and displaced thousands in Kenya this year.

The deadliest single event took place on the night of May 9, when a private dam burst open near the Rift Valley town of Solai.

The dam collapse sent millions of gallons of water rushing through the fields of a 3,000-acre commercial coffee farm and into the homes downstream.

More than 45 people were killed.

Images built using Landsat 8’s shortwave infrared (SWIR) and near-infrared (NIR) bands highlight the water’s destructive path.

The first image, acquired on May 25, 2017, shows the dam as a white speck surrounded by green vegetation and soil, which appears pink through the combination of infrared bands. The second image, captured on May 12, 2018, shows the trail of mud left behind by the dam break as it snakes west through the countryside.

The farm is located 190 kilometers (118 miles) northwest of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Satellite imagery can be used to monitor flooding and natural disasters across the globe. 

Sources: Landsat 8