DHARAN: At least 23 people died when a three-storey Church collapsed in Dharan at midnight on Tuesday. Three of the 63 injured are in critical condition.
Among the dead are two infants, 17 women, and four men.
The makeshift bamboo structure collapsed as it could not withstand the weight of a large number of people, the police said. Around 1,400 Christians had gathered for a convention at the Church.
The organisers, during
a press conference, have admitted feeble management that led to the disaster.
Church spokesperson Mojesh Rai said the structure collapsed suddenly when some 200 participants were sleeping in the building after Tuesday’s general convention.
All the deceased, including an Indian national, have been identified. Following the collapse, the participants ran pell-mell to save their lives. Separate teams of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Nepali Army and local residents were engaged in rescue operations. The injured were immediately rushed to BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS).
BPKIHS director BP Das said bodies of the deceased had already been handed over to their families after autopsy.
The convention is organized every year by the Zion
Church. The event, which started on September 28, was to last till October 6.
The participants had come from as far as Sikkim, Darjeeling, Siliguri and Nagaland of India and different churches in various districts of Nepal, Rai informed.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Bhim Rawal visited the church the same night. He also gathered information about the injured at the BPKIHS. The minister has also pledged assistance.
A version of this article appears in print on September 30, 2009 of The Himalayan Times.