Storms Kill Dozens in India

A tree that fell down in Bharatpur during the dust storm on Thursday

A tree that fell down in Bharatpur during the dust storm on Thursday

More than 100 people were killed and scores injured in northern India after a powerful squall and thunderstorms hit Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh states. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who's attending election rallies in Shivamogga, Karnataka, has reportedly ordered officials to monitor the situation and provide all necessary medical facilities to the injured people. Damage to the respiratory system from a dust storm can cause asthma, lung cancer, or a unique phenomenon known as dust pneumonia.

The Met department today predicted another dust storm in parts of Rajasthan and UP in the next 48 hours.

The India Meteorological Department said there would be more storms over a wider area up to tomorrow.

At least 111 people were killed in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, with many of them in Agra, the city that houses the Taj Mahal, according to BBC News and Agence France-Presse.

Hemant Gera, who oversees disaster management in Rajasthan, said the storm was the worst to hit the state in almost three decades.

In Rajasthan, Bharatpur district was the worst affected with 19 killed. "One critical patient from Dholpur was referred to Jaipur", Hemant Kumar Gera, Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief, said.

Nine people were killed in other parts of Uttar Pradesh, including in Bijnaur, Saharanpur and Bareilly.

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Houses collapsed, electricity poles and trees were uprooted as the severe dust storm swept the Matysya region in Rajasthan. Officials said it could take more than two days to restore power.

However, it does not seem that anyone was prepared for the severity of Wednesday's dust storm.

Major destruction was reported from Alwar district, where trees fell and power cables snapped, plunging a number of areas into darkness.

In UP, the storm also played havoc for farmers as large scale damage to standing crops was reported. Farmers lost cattle and poultry.

"We have sought a detailed report from the affected districts", the Relief Commissioner said, adding that 160 cattleheads also perished in the calamity. In Rajasthan, about 250 animals perished. The power supply was also restored in the Alwar government hospital.

"Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. May the injured recover soon", the Prime Minister's Office tweeted quoting Modi.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said on Twitter she was "disturbed" by the casualties, and expressed condolences for the deaths. He said contigency funds had been released to the three district administrations.

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