A heavy dust storm wreaked havoc in several parts of western and northern India on Wednesday, killing over 100 people – 64 in Uttar Pradesh, 35 in Rajasthan, 2 each in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh – and leaving over 100 injured. The number of deaths is likely to increase further.
According to UP government officials, 64 people were killed in four districts of western Uttar Pradesh, including 36 in Agra, three in Bijnore, two in Saharanpur and one each in Bareilly, Raibareli, Unnao and Chitrakoot.
The local authorities in each of these areas have issued directions to provide immediate relief and carry out a thorough and full assessment.
A squall and dust storm followed by heavy rain also lashed New Delhi on Wednesday evening and caused traffic snarls in some parts of the national capital.
High-speed dust storm wreaked havoc on Wednesday night in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, Alwar and Dholpur districts leaving at least 22 people dead and over 100 injured.
Eleven people died in Bharatpur, six in Dholpur, four in Alwar and one in Jhunjhunu as the dust storm left a trail of destruction leaving hundreds of trees and electric poles uprooted.
A detailed report of the disaster is awaited even as relief and rescue teams have been pressed into service, Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief, Hemant Kumar Gera told PTI.
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.
In view of the calamity, Congress National General Secretary Ashok Gehlot cancelled his birthday celebrations at his official residence in Jaipur.
"We are extremely grieved at the loss of lives in the state and stand with the victims in this hour of tragedyI cancel all celebrations at my residence today. Blood donation camps and Janhit programs can be continued by organisers," he said.
Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, Congress leader from Alwar, wrote: “I pray for safety for all effected by the storm the administration should provide all support alongwith compensation to all effected.”
On Wednesday, heat wave was reported in parts of Rajasthan with Kota recording the highest temperature at 45.4 degrees. The weather department had warned of dust storm, heat wave and light rains in different pockets of the state.