Medical

Nepal whirlwind storms kill 27, injure hundreds

BARA, Nepal, A freak storm tore down houses and

overturned cars and trucks as it swept across southern Nepal killing at least

27 people and leaving more than 600 injured, officials said Monday as a major

rescue operation gathered pace.

High winds battered the rural district of Bara and adjoining areas late

Sunday. Five children were among the dead, the home ministry said, as

rescuers battled to get relief supplies to the region and evacuate injured.

The winds were so fierce that they overturned a bus carrying passengers,

witnesses said. Houses, trees and electricity pylons were all toppled in the

storm.

Whole villages have been flattened and families were left mourning the

death of relatives killed by trees and the debris, an AFP photographer in the

stricken region said. Overturned cars blocked some roads.

Injured victims flocked to local hospitals who were unable to cope, with

some people were airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment.

People who went back into their houses for shelter were crushed, said Jay

Prakash Das, a Bara resident. We rushed out to help. A man had died right

next to our building under a tree. People had fractured bones and many had

head injuries, Das added.

Hot and cold �

I've never seen anything like this. The winds took away everything, my

home and my family, Ram Babu Patel, 45, whose wife was killed in the storm,

told AFP.

I was at home getting ready for dinner when the storm hit � it was

unbelievable. We have nothing left.

Prakash Tharu, a volunteer in Bara district, said the devastation caused by

the storm had left a desperate need for food and relief.

Rescuers struggled to reach many settlements blocked by fallen trees and

electricity poles. Security bodies including the army have been working

intensely since Sunday night on rescues and relief, said Rajesh Poudel,

Bara's district chief.

Every year hundreds die in landslides and floods during Nepal's monsoon

season, but storms causing such high casualties in spring are rare.

The disaster comes as Nepal nears the fourth anniversary of a devastating

earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and left millions homeless.

Nepal's difficult terrain and limited infrastructure often leaves emergency

workers struggling to reach farflung areas.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli expressed his condolences and said that the

government would do its best for treatment of the injured.

The provincial government has announced free treatment and a financial

assistance of 300,000 rupees ($2,710) for families of the dead.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)