At least 109 people have lost their lives and over 130 were injured in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan due to a high-intensity dust storm followed by overnight thundershowers. In Uttar Pradesh, the mounted to 65 and around 40 people are severely injured. In Rajasthan, the toll mounted to 27 and over 100 people are said to have suffered injuries in the squall. Also over 160 animals have died due to calamity in different parts of the states.
Uttar Pradesh government officials said that Agra district was the worst hit due to the storm. At least 36 deaths have been reported from various parts of the district. Reports of houses collapsing, electricity poles and trees being uprooted are still coming in. According to government officials, three deaths were reported in Bijnore, two in Saharanpur and one in Bareilly.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to personally monitor the relief work and provide medical aid to affected people. He has said that no laxity will be tolerated.
“As per figures received till noon, 45 people were killed and 38 injured in the dust storm in different parts of the state,” Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said.
Other districts including Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao were also affected by the havoc created by the dust storm.
In Rajasthan, Bharatpur district was badly hit by the storm. While 12 people died here, 6 were killed in neighbouring Dholpur. Four deaths were also reported from Alwar. One death was reported each from Jhunjhunu and Bikaner.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has expressed condolences over the deaths due to the high-intensity wind and announced compensation to victims’ families. An ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh will be given to the families of deceased persons whereas those who suffered serious injuries will get Rs 2 lakh. A compensation of Rs 60,000 will also be given to those who suffered minor injuries.
In Uttarakhand, two people died in Kumaon region and many suffered injuries due to the thunderstorm. Incidents of cloudbursts were also reported from many parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the PMO has tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the death of people last night due to the dust storm. The PM’s office said that the Prime Minister has asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected.
“Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” the PM said.
Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon.
Have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected: PM
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) May 3, 2018
In Delhi and neighbouring areas, dust storms followed by heavy rain disrupted normal life on Wednesday evening. Incidents of traffic jams were reported from various parts of Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida.