KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- At least 23 people died when part of a church collapsed in eastern Nepal, police said Wednesday.
The church in the town of Dharan, about 150 miles (240 km) east of Kathmandu, was hosting a conference with up to 700 participants when a makeshift bamboo dormitory housing them caved in.
"Some of them were sleeping and others were preparing to sleep when the floor of the upper story gave way and collapsed," Officer Bharat Thapa said. "Those killed were from the lower ground floor."
Among the dead were 18 women and two children. Another 63 people were injured and are being treated in the local hospital.
"Besides overcrowding, the rain during the day also added to the weight of the roof of the dormitory," said Moses Rai, an organizer of the conference. "The structure could not handle the weight of the people and the rain on the thatch roof."
Christians are a minority in Nepal, which is a predominantly Hindu country.