The dam gave way in Solai, in Nakuru county, 190 kilometres (120 miles) northwest of Nairobi, late on Wednesday.
The floodwaters carved out a dark brown chasm in the hillside and swept away everything in their path - powerlines, homes and buildings, including a primary school.
Military helicopters and personnel have for the past week been deployed to rescue people marooned by the flooding. My neighbour was killed when the water smashed through the wall of his house.
Humanitarian agency Red Cross reported that tens of people were unaccounted for whereas 39 others had been rescued as on Thursday early morning.
Even before this week's dam-burst, heavy rains had caused havoc in Kenya, killing 132 people and displacing 222,000, according to the government.
Heavy rainfall and floods have hit East Africa in recent months with Kenya and Rwanda among the worst hit.
"It is a disaster because most people were asleep when the tragedy occurred", he confirmed.
Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Could Bring 'Ballistic Projectiles' and Ashfall in Coming Weeks
However, as additional vents formed in the following days, concerns rose that PGV would be in the path of the lava flow. Wednesday's USGS warning came as residents in the community of Leilani Estates have been under siege from lava.
As residents of the small town of Solai in central Kenya describe it, the loud boom happened about 9 p.m. Wednesday. "All our houses have been ruined". "The extent of the damage has yet to be ascertained", said Lee Kinyajui, governor of Nakuru, the county where the dam is located.
Local leaders are now seeking to find out whether the farmer was licensed to erect those dams, amid concerns about the condition of the remaining two which are also said to be full.
Esipisu said: "We are saddened by the loss of lives and property occasioned by the bursting of Patel dam in Solai, Subukia".
By 5 P.M the death toll had hit 48 with several people still missing and many left homeless following extensive damage caused to homes, schools and businesses.
Kenyan interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi is set to visit the site.
Last week, the Kenya Red Cross said that at least 21,000 acres of farming land has been submerged in water with an estimated 20,000 animals killed.