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Deadly Dust Storm and Thundershowers Kill at Least 110 in India

Deadly Dust Storm and Thundershowers Kill at Least 110 in India

Officials told IANS that the death toll could go up as full information on the extent of the tragedy was still pouring in.

Twelve people died in Bharatpur, 10 in Dholpur and five in Alwar, Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Hemant Kumar Gera told PTI. As per reports, Agra district was the worst hit, accounting for 43 deaths and injuries to 35 others.

At least 90 people were killed as squalls and dust storms tore across parts of northern India, weeks ahead of the monsoon rains.

Dust clouds plunged swathes of north India into darkness as winds of more than 130kmh brought down feeble mud houses, trees and electric pylons, killing people where they slept. In all three affected districts, 12,700 electricity poles have been uprooted, while 1,523 electricity transformers were damaged. "Condolence for families who lost their loved ones", she said on Twitter.

People were also killed in Muzaffaranagr, Saharanpur, Rae Bareilly, Kannauj, Pilibhit, Kanpur and other districts as houses caved in and walls and trees collpased.

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The Relief Commissioner while confirming that at least 156 animals have also died due to the calamity in Uttar Pradesh, said, "We have sought a detailed report from the affected districts". Electrical and telephone lines were snapped in parts of Uttar Pradesh state, Kumar said.

Al Jazeera's senior weather presenter, Richard Angwin, says the extreme temperatures could be to blame for the ferocity of the storms.

There were primarily four reasons that lead to the thunderstorm - excessive heating, availability of moisture, instability in the atmosphere and a trigger for the storm, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Additional Director General Mritunjay Mohapatra said.

The storm also reached the capital of Delhi, almost 100 km (62 miles) away, along with heavy rains late Wednesday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the deaths and directed officials to coordinate with states to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation.

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Sandstorms, accompanied by extremely strong winds, are common for the summer season in these parts of India.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also announced that families of the dead will receive 400,000 rupees ($6,000; £4,400) as compensation.

Update | At least 110 people were killed and hundreds more injured as a deadly dust storm ripped through northern India on Wednesday evening.

As the state governments moved into action, officials rushed to the affected areas to begin relief work. Normal life was crippled in the state as road transport disrupted due to fall of trees on arterial roads.

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