A rainstorm swept through southern Nepal on Sunday, leaving at least 25 people dead and hundreds more injured, officials said.

Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli said on Twitter that he received a report of 25 people killed and 400 injured.

“Helicopters have been kept ready for immediate rescue and relief,” Oli said in his post.

He said security forces have been alerted. Rescue and helicopters with night vision capabilities were waiting for the weather to clear to help bring the injured from the villages.

He also offered condolences to the families of the victims.

Government administrator Rajesh Poudel, the top bureaucrat of Bara district, said the number of deaths would likely increase as the storm had hit many villages. 

He said police and army rescuers were fanned out around the district trying to reach the villages, but rescue efforts were difficult at night.

The injured were being brought to hospital by cars and ambulances, but roads in many villages had been blocked by fallen trees and electricity poles.

Poudel said most of the deaths and injuries were because of flying objects, falling huts and trees.

Pre-monsoon thunderstorms are common in Nepal during the spring season, but are rarely of an intensity that causes high casualties.

Television channels said the storm and accompanying heavy rainfall uprooted trees and electric and telephone poles, crushing some people to death.

Bara district is located 120 kilometres south of the capital, Kathmandu, and borders India’s eastern state of Bihar.¬†

Most people in the district are farmers.

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