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Casualties Mount After Storm Hits Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan

Casualties Mount After Storm Hits Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan

Dust clouds plunged swathes of north India into darkness as choking winds of more than 130kph swept across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, flattening houses, walls, trees and power pylons.

Officials have said the death toll could rise over the coming days.

"We experienced a fierce storm, with an unusually high wind speed", Hemant Gera, responsible for relief and disaster management in Rajasthan, said speaking by phone from Jaipur, the state capital.

At least 183 others were injured as a massive dust storm last night, followed by thunder showers, snapped power lines and sent tin roofs and street hoardings flying in parts of eastern Rajasthan and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh.

In the post of Prime Minister of India Narendra modi in Twitter is written: "Saddened by the losses due to sand storms in different parts of India".

Trees and electricity poles were uprooted and mud houses collapsed in the high-intensity squall, officials said on Thursday.

"More than 1,000 electricity poles were uprooted in the storm, plunging the city in darkness".

People were also killed in Muzaffaranagr, Saharanpur, Rae Bareilly, Kannauj, Pilibhit, Kanpur and other districts as houses caved in and walls and trees collpased.

Worryingly, the IMD says satellite images are showing wind pressure developing over Rajasthan, which could result in another dust storm with gale-force winds lashing the western state.

T.P. Gupta of the Uttar Pradesh relief commissioner's office told AFP, the number of lost lives was "unprecedented".

This photo taken on May 2, 2018 shows an Indian traffic policeman covering his face as he stands on duty during a dust storm in New Delhi.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today urged his party workers to offer all help to the families of those affected by the dust storm in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, who was away in Karnatka campaigning for the BJP, issued an advisory to officers and directed them to personally monitor relief operations and provide necessary medical facilities to the affected persons.

Winds as strong as 126km per hour accompanied the dust storm, The Times reported. "We have not been able to restore communication with the people but the damage has been intense", the Relief Commissioner said.

Thunderstorms with gusty winds were expected Thursday across northern India, the Meteorological Department said in its forecast. He also announced compensation of up to Rs.4 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs.50,000 for each of the injured.

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