Over 100 killed in dust storm across western, northern India

Kashmir Times. Dated: 5/4/2018 12:43:25 AM

NEW DELHI, May 3(Agencies): A heavy dust storm swept across several parts of western and northern India on Wednesday, killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds more in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand and leaving a trail of destruction, uprooting trees and disrupting power supply in Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh as well.
At least 64 people were killed in four districts of western Uttar Pradesh with maximum deaths reported in Agra.
Thirty-five people were killed in Rajasthan with Bharatpur suffering the maximum damage. The district reported 17 deaths. Nine people died in neighbouring Dholpur in the high-speed dust storm that started around 7pm and wreaked havoc for two hours. Nine deaths were reported from Alwar.
Most deaths occurred in house collapse due to the storm, officials in Rajasthan said.
Uttarakhand Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre (DMMC) said at least two people were killed in Kumaon and few more injured in other parts after rains and thunderstorm lashed the hill state on Wednesday night.
A squall and dust storm followed by heavy rain also lashed New Delhi on Wednesday evening and caused traffic snarls in some parts of the national capital.
Two deaths were reported from Madhya Pradesh, one from Bhind and another from Satna district.
Normal life was also hit in many places in Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday after a high-velocity dust storm. In Patiala, two people were killed after a thunderstorm. Light to moderate rains also lashed many places.
At least 64 people were killed and dozens of others injured in thunderstorm and rains in four districts of western Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday night. At least 43 people were killed and 35 others injured in Agra. State government officials said three people were also killed in Bijnore, three in Kanpur, two in Saharanpur and one in Bareilly. Most people were killed in the rural areas of Agra district because of wall collapse, they added.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the district magistrates of the four districts to carry out relief and rescue operations immediately.
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje condoled the deaths and said in a series of tweets that she has directed ministers and officials in the affected areas to begin relief work and restore utilities.
“An unfortunate incident, we have been working closely with local authorities to mitigate the situation,” Raje tweeted.
In Uttarakhand, the sudden rains also halted the ongoing Char Dham pilgrimage. Officials, however, said debris from the roads was cleared particularly in Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts.
There were reports of a cloudburst in Narayan Bagar of Chamoli as the rainwater brought tons of debris. Police in Chamoli, however, denied the cloudburst.
“Some vehicles were trapped as the rains and debris blocked the Badrinath highway. The highway has been cleared now,” it said in an official communiqué.
The storm uprooted many trees and snapped electricity supply in state capital Dehradun.
Villages in the Jaunpur area near Mussoorie were also reeling in the dark. Reports suggest electricity and water supply has also been affected in Nainital, Haldwani and several other remote locations.
Weather department officials said the downpour and thunderstorm are expected to continue for another 48 hours especially in the hilly regions like Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts.
A fresh western disturbance is approaching and likely to affect the western Himalayan region from May 5, the Meteorological Centre, Uttarakhand warned.
Two children died and at least a dozen were injured following the dust storm in northern Madhya Pradesh.
In Kalyanpur village of Bhind district, a four-year-old boy was killed and two men were injured after a house collapsed during the storm. Another death was reported in Uchera village of Satna district.
In another incident in Bhind town, two minors were injured when a tin shed fell on them.
The high velocity wind snapped the electricity supply and uprooted more than 50 trees in northern MP including Bhind, Morena, Gwalior, Dabra and Datia.
Apart from traffic snarls, 15 flights, including two international, were diverted due to the bad weather, airport officials in Delhi said
A squall with a wind speed of 59 km per hour hit the city in the evening, the met department said. Many parts of Punjab including Mohali, Zirakpur, Ludhiana and Muktsar were hit by the dust storm. Two people were killed and three others injured after a thunderstorm in Patiala.
The storm, with wind speed exceeding 45 kmph, hit Chandigarh during the afternoon, forcing vehicles to move with their headlights on as visibility level reduced considerably.
Panchkula, Karnal, Mahendergarh and Ambala were among the other places in Haryana that were hit by the dust storm.



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