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Makeshift Church Building Collapse Kills 23 in Nepal


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In Nepal, at least 23 people were killed and more than 60 others injured when a makeshift church building collapsed in a town hosting a Christian conference.

The accident occurred late Tuesday night, in Dharan, where nearly 1,500 Christians had gathered to attend a week-long annual convention of a church organization based in northeast India.

Dharan is about 350 kilometers southeast of the capital, Katmandu.

Police say many of the participants were sleeping in a makeshift three-story bamboo structure when its roof collapsed.

The makeshift building had been built to accommodate the hundreds of Christians who traveled from all over the country and from northeast India to attend the conference.

A home ministry spokesman in Kathmandu, Ekmani Nepal, told VOA that many of those killed or injured were sleeping on the ground floor.

Nepal says there were hundreds of people in what he calls the "tent" when the collapse took place. He says at least 23 people were killed and that women and children are among the victims.

It is a common practice in Nepal to construct temporary tents for religious or social functions.

Ekmani Nepal says the home minister has visited Dharan to supervise the rescue efforts.

Nepal says the injured people have been taken to hospitals.

There are about half a million Christians in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation tucked in the Himalayan mountains.

The tragedy occurred during the holiday season in Nepal, which is celebrating its biggest annual festival, the Hindu festival of Dashain.


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