Deadly dust storm: Toll rises to 51 as weather wreaks havoc in North India; region on alert for next 72 hours

As many as 51 people were killed, including 39 in Uttar Pradesh, due to lightning and thunderstorms in four states since Sunday night, the Home Ministry said on Monday.

As per information received from state governments, 39 people died in Uttar Pradesh, nine in Andhra Pradesh, four in West Bengal and one in Delhi due to lightning and thunderstorms during the intervening night of 13 and 14 May, a ministry spokesperson said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Also, 83 people were injured in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in Delhi and one in West Bengal.

Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh, 13 people were killed in Barabanki, while, Bareilly accounted for eight deaths, followed by six in Kasganj, four in Bulandshahr, three in Lakhimpur Khiri, and two each in Saharanpur, Pratapgarh and Jaunpur districts.

Eight of them died when they slipped into the Ghaghra river as they lost their balance due to strong winds, officials said, adding that the local administration was probing the matter.

Government officials said that 121 houses were damaged and 17 animals died in the storms. According to a report in The Times of India, Principal Secretary (Information) Awanish Awasthi said, "Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed all district magistrates and commissioners to provide immediate relief (to the affected people) and ensure that the injured are provided medical care immediately,"

Nine people were struck dead by lightning and three injured in Srikakulam and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh, the report said.

High-velocity winds uprooted trees and affected road, rail and air services on Sunday evening in several places in north India, including Delhi. According to the Delhi police, until 7.30 pm, they received 189 calls regarding fallen trees, 40 regarding fallen poles while 31 reports came in of fallen tin sheds or roofs. Fallen trees combined with low visibility added to traffic snarls, reported The Indian Express.

Operations at the Delhi airport also came to a standstill due to low visibility. Many passengers were left stranded as at least 40 flights were diverted and over two dozen were delayed, as per the Express report.

Thunderstorms also occurred at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtara, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said in its advisory on Sunday.

However, there doesn't seem to be any respite soon for the residents as Charan Singh, a scientist at IMD, told NDTV that "there is a circulation of a western disturbance in north-west India. Our forecast shows weather will be adverse for the next 48 to 72 hours".

Even SkyMet Weather has predicted duststorms and thundershowers with strong gusty wind, hailstorm and lightning in various parts of Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar during the next 12 hours.

The devastation comes over 12 days after storms hit Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Punjab, killing 134 people and injuring over 400. Uttar Pradesh was the worst affected, accounting for 80 deaths, most of them in Agra district in the western part of the state. Subsequently, on 9 May, several parts of Uttar Pradesh were struck by a severe storm that left 18 dead and 27 others injured.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 14, 2018 13:57:09 IST

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