27 dead as storm, rains play havoc in Rajasthan

Dust storm, rains kill 50 in Uttar Pradesh, 27 in Rajasthan: Top updates

Nearly 70 dead, dozens injured as squall, sandstorms hit parts of north India

The death toll of the number of people dead as a result of the strong dust storms that swept across northern India has continued to rise, with official now pegging the figure at 97.

Heavy rains and dust storm also lashed Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana.

Dust storms are common in this part of India during summer but loss of life on this scale is unusual.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted that monsoon is likely to be normal this year.

Two persons succumbed in each in Saharanpur, Kanpur Nagar, Mirzapur and Hamirpur while one each died in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Chitrakoot, Rae Bareli and Unnao, Mathura, Amroha, Banda, Sitapur, Sambhal, Etawh, Allahabad and Rampur. Officials said most of the deaths were due to collapsed homes.

Dust clouds plunged swathes of north India into darkness as winds of more than 130 kilometres per hour (80 miles per hour) brought down feeble mud houses and killed people where they slept.

In neighboring Uttar Pradesh, the death toll stood at at least 64, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in the city of Agra, where so far 43 have been confirmed dead.

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"As per figures received till noon, 50 people were killed and 38 injured in the dust storm in different parts of the state", our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting Uttar Pradesh Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar.

Numerous dead were sleeping inside when their houses collapsed after being struck by intense bursts of lightning.

Of the casualties, many have been caused by lightning, which struck at many places after the dust storm settled down.

A sudden change in the weather was also reported in the national capital and NCR region. He also said that relief would be given within 24 hours to the affected people. More thunderstorms are expected.

Many trees were uprooted, crashing into houses and tearing down electricity cables.

Meanwhile, the Business Standard reported at least 15 flights, including at least two worldwide aircraft, were diverted from Delhi airport due to the bad weather.

The stormy weather comes in the wake of a heat wave that pushed temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.

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