15 killed as storm sweeps across Nepal (Lead)

May 3rd, 2009 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, May 3 (DPA) At least 15 people were killed and more than 170 were injured by a storm that struck southern and western Nepal, officials said Sunday.
Six districts reported fatalities, the majority of which were caused by collapsing houses and walls and falling trees.

In Rautahat district, about 120 km southeast of the capital Kathmandu, at least six people, including four children, were killed when they were crushed by a collapsing roof, the police said.

“The six were crushed by a falling roof after their homes were damaged by the strong winds,” said Ghananand Bhatta, superintendent of police of Rautahat district. “More than 70 people were injured either by flying debris or were caught in collapsed houses.”

Police said nearly 400 houses in four villages were damaged by the storm, which hit the district early Sunday morning.

Three more people died in neighbouring Parsa district, two in Kapilvastu district, and one each in Mahottari and Sarlahi districts.

The police in Parsa district said more than 100 people had been injured by the storm and many were in serious condition.

In Mahottari, a six-month-old infant was crushed to death after the wall of her house collapsed, while seven students were injured in a separate incident.

Two more people died in Gorkha district, about 120 km west of Kathmandu, when they were struck by lightning. The country’s meteorological department said the storm system had now moved into northeastern India.

“The storm was produced by a major system which affected much of the country Saturday night and Sunday morning,” meteorologist K.B. Malla said. “It was accompanied by strong winds and heavy rains in some areas.”

Malla estimated that wind gusts of up to 60 km per hour accompanied the storm, but said a full report was awaited.

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