By Elton Gomes
Over 124 people have lost their lives due to thunderstorms and lightning across five states in India over the past two days. Uttar Pradesh has been the worst affected with 73 deaths. A total of 35 persons were killed in Rajasthan, eight in Telangana, six in Uttarakhand, and two in Punjab.
The government has issued a warning about a potential thunderstorm which might affect West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted another dust storm in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh over the next two days.
Here’s what happened
Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan
On May 3, several media outlets reported that severe dust storms followed by thunderstorms affected Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. In both states, approximately 100 people were killed and the storms left behind a trail of destruction.
In Uttar Pradesh, the dust storm took the lives of 64 people and left 47 injured. In Rajasthan, 33 people were killed. Officials said that roughly 100 people were injured.
More than 100 people killed after strong winds and lightning strikes during a powerful dust storm in northwestern India. Over 8,000 electricity poles were downed and hundreds of trees were uprooted in the storm https://t.co/YteM6CChdf pic.twitter.com/Ob0xMVPlZQ
— CNN (@CNN) May 3, 2018
Agra was the worst affected district in UP with winds reaching speeds of up to 130 kilometres which destroyed buildings and severely damaged weak construction sites. Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli, and Unnao were the other districts that were affected.
The destruction caused by the dust storm in Agra. Credit: Twitter/@ANINewsUP
In Rajasthan, Dholpur was the worst affected district after 17 people lost their lives. “A few people are undergoing primary treatment while others were discharged. One critical patient from Dholpur was referred to Jaipur,” Hemant Kumar Gera, secretary of the Disaster Management and Relief team told PTI.
Gera added that contingency funds were distributed to respective district administration. According to the PTI report, “Rs 4 lakh will be given to family members of deceased, Rs 2 lakh to persons sustaining 60 percent injuries and Rs 60,000 to people with 40 to 50 percent injuries.”
Officials from the Uttar Pradesh administration began a survey to assess the losses due to the storm and rain. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered district magistrates to carry out relief and rescue operations. In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Vasundhare Raje also instructed her officials to take charge of relief work in affected districts.
Dust storms affected various parts of Uttarakhand as well. Four people lost their lives and eight others were injured.
Farming life in Punjab and Haryana was also affected as a result of the dust storms. Maize and melon crops were drenched after heavy rain in most parts of both states.
A total of 15 flights were diverted due to bad weather in Delhi, and approximately 50 trains were delayed.
Why you should care: Home Ministry issues warning
The IMD has signalled the possibility of a strong thunderstorm along with squall in Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.
Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh might again face dust storms over the next two days. Himanshu Sharma, a scientist at the IMD told PTI, “There is a high probability that winds will intensify in the next 48 hours in Rajasthan, which may lead to another dust storm. It will affect areas of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan border, especially Karauli and Dholpur.”
Although dust storms might be common in some parts of India during the summer, such a large number of deaths has been unprecedented.
The home ministry has issued an advisory for Saturday and started that thunderstorm and squall are expected in Uttarakhand, Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, SubHimalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.
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