Intense dust storms along with severe thunder showers hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan overnight, killing nearly 100 people and leaving a trail of destruction. Houses collapsed and trees and poles were uprooted in the storm that also led to power outages. In Uttar Pradesh, the high-intensity dust storm left 64 people dead and 47 injured. In Rajasthan, 33 were killed, taking the combined death toll to 97. About 100 people were injured in the state, officials said.
In UP, Agra district was the worst hit, accounting for 36 deaths and injuries to 35 others, officials said. Besides Agra, the other affected UP districts were Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao. In Rajasthan, Dholpur district was the worst affected with 17 killed.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and said authorities concerned in the districts have been directed to ensure all possible help to victims. “Condolence for families who lost their loved ones,” she said on Twitter.
Taking note of the havoc caused by the dust storm in UP, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officers concerned to personally monitor relief operations and provide all necessary medical facilities to the affected. He also said that no laxity will be tolerated in providing succour to the needy.
Yogi Adityanath, on Thursday, announced a compensation of up to Rs 400,000 to the next of kin of the deceased in the state. Those injured will receive Rs 50,000 each.