09/30/2009, 00.00
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A Protestant church collapses: 25 dead. Catholics and Hindus in aid of victims

by Kalpit Parajuli
The roof collapsed overnight while people slept in the building. Over 100 injured. Isu Jung Karki, president of the Nepal Christian Forum: "Our first concern is to rescue the wounded and treat them. Discussions on the causes of the incident will follow”.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Twenty-five dead and over 100 wounded is the toll from the collapse of the Protestant Church Zion Prayer House (photo) that took place during the night in Dharan, a town 400 km from Kathmandu, Sunsari district in the far east of the country.  

The victims are Nepalese and Indians who had travelled to the town to attend an annual meeting, which began September 28, coinciding with the closure of schools and facilities for the Hindu festivals of Daisain.

During the night of 29 September, the roof of the building, built with bamboo poles, collapsed under the weight of the people who where sleeping there. At the time of the collapse were about 800 people inside the building including many women and children.  

Smriti Rai, an Indian national who escaped the tragedy, said: "We never could have imagined this hell. I lost a friend and several of my brothers in faith. I pray the Lord will carry us to safety and give healing to the wounded as soon as possible". The survivors were taken to BP Koirala Hospital in Dharan, the most serious cases to Kathmandu.   

In the area of collapse local people and people of different religions, including many Hindus, are helping rescue efforst led by the local administration. Priests and Catholic youth in the area, have joined in, led by Fr Pulickal Augusty, head of the national youth ministry. Isu Jung Karki, president of the Nepal Christian Forum, told AsiaNews: "Our first concern is to rescue and treat the wounded. Discussions on the causes of the incident will follow later".



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