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Rains halts rescue after Kenya landslide kills 8

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Landslide swallows up homes in western Kenya, killing at least eight people
  • Heavy rains and inadequate equipment slow rescue efforts Saturday
  • Landslide struck villages in Marakwet district after downpour that burst river banks
  • Rains, blamed on El Nino weather patterns, have killed 100 in Kenya this year
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Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- Heavy rains and inadequate equipment slowed rescue efforts Saturday after a landslide swallowed up homes in western Kenya, killing at least eight people.

Eight more people were critically injured, said Titus Mung'ou, a spokesman for the Kenya Red Cross. More people are missing after the Friday landslide and the death toll is expected go up, he said.

"Villagers indicated there were more than 30 people in the households (that were buried)," Mung'ou said.

Rescue crews, including the aid agency, local police and residents, used shovels and other garden tools in a desperate search for survivors.

They are "digging through the rubble like mad to find others who have not been accounted for," Mung'ou said.

The spokesman said authorities were working to get better equipment into the area.

The landslide struck villages in the Marakwet district after a heavy downpour that burst river banks and sent water gushing toward homes.

"We still have heavy rains -- torrential rains are still pounding the area," Mung'ou said.

The rains, blamed on El Nino weather patterns, have claimed at least 100 lives in Kenya so far this year -- 56 in March and April and at least 44 in January and February, Mung'ou said.

Other areas of East Africa have also been affected. In March, a landslide engulfed homes, a hospital and a school in neighboring Uganda, leaving scores dead.

CNN's Melissa Gray contributed to this report.