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Dust storms, thunderstorms lash parts of north India: A look at past severe weather events to affect the country

Nearly 124 people were killed when several regions of north India were hit by severe weather conditions last week, according to the home ministry. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were hit by a massive dust storm, followed by thundershowers, on Wednesday night.

The storm barrelled through a swathe of the two states, killing at least 109 people and injuring nearly 200 others in a trail of destruction that brought down mud houses, uprooted trees and flattened crops. Thunderstorms and lightning also hit the states of Telangana, Uttarakhand and Punjab, killing sixteen.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Seventy-three people were killed in Uttar Pradesh and 91 injured, officials said. In Rajasthan, 36 died and another 100 were injured as winds over 100 km/h hit the region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed sorrow over the deaths and directed officials to coordinate with the states to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who was in poll-bound Karnataka at the time of the incident, had directed officials to personally monitor relief operations, warning against any laxity.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje also expressed grief over the calamity and said district authorities had been directed to ensure all possible help to victims.

According to The Times of India, the severe thunderstorms last week caused the most devastation by any single-day storm event in India in the past six years, for which data was compiled by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Here is a look at other deadly dust storms and thunderstorms that have affected India in recent times:

Dust Storm in Uttar Pradesh in April 2014

At least 18 people were killed and property worth several million rupees damaged in a dust storm that hit Lucknow and other parts of Uttar Pradesh in April 2014.

Three people died in the state capital and Barabanki, 11 were killed in Jalaun, two in Kasganj and two in Faizabad after hutments were uprooted and houses collapsed in gutsy winds that reached up to 75 km/h.

A two-year-old was buried alive in Dubagga area of the state capital when the wall of a school caved in.

More than 500 hoardings across the state collapsed and half a dozen trains, including the Farakka Express, Avadh-Assam Express, Gonda Passenger, Amrapali Express and Lucknow-Gorakhpur Express, were halted after many trees uprooted due to the storm landed on rail tracks.

In Lucknow alone, more than 100 big and small trees were uprooted and 60 electric poles came down in the storm. As a result, the power went off in over 15 lakh households.

Dust storm in Rajasthan in May 2015

In May 2015, a severe dust storm, coupled with light rain, which swept vast swathes of north India, played havoc in Rajasthan.

PTI had reported that the storm resulted in the death of at least seven persons — five in Bharatpur and two in Bikaner — and injured many others. The seven dead including a woman and a minor girl.  Many houses were damaged and several trees were uprooted in rural areas due to the storm. Traffic was also badly affected by the storm.

According to the report, the Met Department in Jaipur had attributed the occurrence of the storm with high-velocity winds to a pressure gradient force over Bikaner region that soon advanced to Jodhpur, Nagaur, Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur and nearby areas as well.

"Traffic was affected in those areas and there were reports of some trees being uprooted in Bikaner, Jaipur and Bharatpur," the state police control room was quoted as saying. Three of the five persons who were killed in Bharatpur died as a result of walls collapsing on them.

Thunderstorm in Bihar in April 2015

At least 42 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured in Bihar as a nor'wester rampaged through the state in April 2015, Scroll had reported. A sudden thunderstorm, accompanied by bursts of winds blowing at speeds of around 100 km/h damaged thousands of homes and crops.

Several persons were killed after houses caved in. Road communication was also affected as uprooted trees obstructed many stretches.

The storm hit Purnia, Madhepura, Saharsa, Madhubani, Samastipur, Darbhanga and Samastipur uprooting several thousand trees, destroying power lines and thousands of huts and standing crops of maize, wheat and pulses, India Today had reported.

The state government had announced a compensation of Rs four lakh to the families of each of the deceased.

Scroll had reported that the metrological department was caught off guard by the storm as it had not registered on the department's radar.

Thunderstorm in Bihar in June 2016

Heavy rains and thunderstorm claimed 57 lives in Bihar in June 2016. The event also left around 24 others injured.

While six persons were killed in Patna district, five others died in Buxar district, Principal Secretary (Disaster Management) Vyasji told PTI, according to The Indian Express.

Nalanda, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Kaimur, Aurangabad, Purnea registered four deaths each, while Katihar, Saharsa and Saran districts recorded three deaths each, Vyasji said.

Bhagalpur, Munger, Samastipur districts witnessed two deaths each, while Banka, Madhepura, Muzaffarpur and West Champaran districts registered one death each, he said, adding three more deaths were reported from other areas.

In a separate incident, 24 others suffered injuries due to lightning in various districts, he said, adding that 13 cattle also perished.

Storm in eastern India in April 2010

CNN had reported that a short-lived but violent storm killed 122 people in eastern India in April 2010. The storm hit parts of West Bengal and Bihar, damaging around 300,000 homes.

The report quoted a North Dinajpur official as saying that 41 people died and 200,000 homes were damaged owing to the storm. North Dinajpur is a district in West Bengal.

The same storm left 81 persons dead in Bihar, the report said, quoting the state's disaster-management official Vyasji. Around 100,000 homes were affected in Bihar.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 08, 2018 12:56 PM

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