Over 100 people died and dozens were injured in squalls and sandstorms in parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh since Wednesday evening, Hindustan Times reported. At least 64 of the deaths took place in Uttar Pradesh after a “high-intensity dust storm”.
The worst hit district was Agra where 43 people died and 35 were injured, Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said. Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao districts were also affected.
More than 35 people died in Rajasthan after a high-intensity squall followed by rain on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday. Several houses collapsed while electricity poles and trees were uprooted.
The toll was 17 in Bharatpur, nine in Dholpur, nine in Alwar and one each in Bikaner and Jhunjunu, reported Hindustan Times. Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Hemant Kumar Gera told PTI that contigency funds had been released to the three district administrations. Families of those who died will get Rs 4 lakh as ex gratia compensation, while those injured will get Rs 60,000 or Rs 2 lakh depending on the extent of injury.
Private schools in Alwar city are closed on Thursday, according to the Hindustan Times.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said on Twitter she was “disturbed” by the casualties, and expressed condolences for the deaths. She said she had asked authorities to ensure all possible help to the injured.
Rescue teams have been sent to the affected places.
Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said he was cancelling his birthday celebration on Thursday.