Tuesday 22 May 2018

Indian workers repair damage after deadly dust storm

More than 100 were killed and another 200 people injured as the storm swept through Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan states.

People cross a road, enveloped by dust rising from a storm in New Delhi, India (Manish Swarup.AP)
People cross a road, enveloped by dust rising from a storm in New Delhi, India (Manish Swarup.AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Workers were rushing to restore electricity to scores of towns and villages in northern and western India on Friday after a powerful dust storm and thundery showers caused more than 100 deaths and injured another 200 people.

Winds blew at up to 80mph (130kph) as the storm swept through Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan states on Wednesday night, demolishing hundreds of mud huts, uprooting trees and causing extensive damage to wheat and vegetable crops. It also killed scores of cattle and buffalo.

Electricity poles and transformers were damaged, plunging parts of 20 districts of Uttar Pradesh state into darkness, state Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said on Friday.

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People cover their noses as a dust storm envelops New Delhi (Manish Swarup/AP)

Amid repair and relief work, India’s meteorological department warned that another powerful dust storm would sweep parts of the two states this weekend.

At least 70 people were killed and another 83 injured by the storm in Uttar Pradesh state, which sent tin roofs and advertising displays flying in 10 worst-hit districts, Mr Kumar said.

The devastation was particularly severe in Agra, the city where the white marble Taj Mahal is located. Forty-three people died there, but there was no damage to the monument, Mr Kumar said.

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Crows fly as dark streaks of rain fall over Kangra Valley in Dharmsala, India,(Ashwini Bhatia/AP))

In neighbouring Rajasthan state, another 36 people died and 150 were injured. Many of the dead were sleeping when their houses collapsed after being struck by lightning or gusts of wind.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the storm triggered traffic jams and delayed some trains in Rajasthan state as overhead power lines snapped.

The rainstorm caught people by surprise as the monsoon season is still more than six weeks away.

Press Association

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