Massive Indian dust storm kills more than 70, injures scores more

Massive Indian dust storm kills more than 70, injures scores more

The powerful storm swept through parts of north and western India overnight, lashing four districts of Uttar Pradesh, Saharanpur, Bareilly, Bijnore and Agra.

The storms caught many by surprise as it blanketed Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhand, injuring hundreds.

At least 72 people have died in a powerful storm that has caused houses to collapse and trees to topple.

The storms produced wind speeds of more than 75 miles per hour, forecasters at Indian Air Force's Kheria base said.

"We can confirm at least 46 deaths, 41 injuries from around 40 of the state's 75 districts", said TP Gupta of the Uttar Pradesh relief commissioner's office.

Shivam Lohia, who owns a resort hotel in Alwar district of Rajasthan, abandoned his auto and ran for his life when it was almost blown away.




IMD, which described Wednesday's storms as a "freak incident", said it was caused by a western disturbance-induced cyclonic circulation, high moisture brought by easterly winds and the recent spell of unusually high temperatures.

Apart from traffic snarls, 15 flights, including two global, were diverted due to the bad weather, airport officials in Delhi said.

Normal life was also hit in many places in Punjab and Haryana, including Chandigarh, on Wednesday after a high-velocity dust storm. Agra has the most number of casualties with 43 people dead. The city was also belted by heavy rain. The warning came even as the two north Indian states were reeling under the impact of a severe overnight dust storm that killed almost 100 people and left a trail of destruction.

Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief, Hemant Kumar Gera told PTI news agency in Jaipur that a detailed report of the disaster is awaited even as relief and rescue teams have been pressed into service to clear debris and restore power supply.

'Have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected, ' Mr Modi tweeted.

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