NEW DELHI: A new wave of violent sand and thunderstorms hit northern India on Sunday killing more than 40 people and leaving widespread disruption, authorities said. NEW As many as 71 people were killed across the country on Sunday as lightning and thunderstorms hit five states, throwing life out of gear and leaving behind a trail of destruction. Deaths were reported from Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi-NCR.
42 people killed as thunderstorm hits Uttar Pradesh
At least 42 people were killed and 84 injured in hail and thunderstorm that hit different parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Lakhimpur Kheri saw the maximum damage with 84 houses and buildings collapsing partly or completely in the storm, followed by Sambhal where 31 buildings were damaged. A total of 121 houses were reported damaged in the storm.
Government sources revealed that the most loss of live took place in Bareilly where eight persons died. Kasganj reported six deaths while Barabanki reported five deaths. The deaths were caused by falling trees, collapsing walls etc. In one case, a hoarding collapsed in Gautambudh Nagar, killing one while in another case, two sustained serious injuries after they were struck by lightning in Hapur.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued directions to the district administration on Sunday night to distribute relief material to affected families immediately.
In the evening, the state government had warned that hail thunderstorm, with winds speed of up to 70 km per hour, accompanied with squall and rain are very likely in parts of Badaun, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur, Shajhanpur, Sitpur, Hardoi, Lucknow, Barabanki, Raebareli, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Mirzapur, Sant Ravidas Nagar districts.
14 killed in West Bengal
At least 14 people were killed and over 15 injured in different districts of West Bengal after lightning struck them amid heavy rain on Sunday, an official of the state disaster management department said.
Five deaths were reported from Howrah district’s Uluberia sub-division, while there were two deaths each in Paschim Midnapore, North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts, and one in Murshidabad district, he said.
A person in Howrah district suffered serious injuries and was undergoing treatment at a local hospital, the official said.
According to Murshidabad district police, Shankar Mondal (50) was working at a field in Jalangi area of the district, when he was killed in a lightning strike.
In Howrah district, among the five dead, four children, aged between 8 and 12 years, were in a field collecting mangoes during a thunderstorm when lightning hit them in Bordanga under Uluberia police station, a police officer said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her government would provide assistance to the families of the deceased, as well as those whose houses and crops have been damaged.
“We do not have control over the nature. We will not be able to bring back those who have died, but our government will be beside these families and help them in every possible manner,” she told a news channel.
Reiterating that the model code of conduct ahead of tomorrow’s panchayat elections was not applicable in case of a disaster in the state, she said the chief secretary has been asked to carry out a survey of the losses.
“We are yet to ascertain the estimate of the damages. We will do a survey based on which we will help the families,” Banerjee said.
12 dead in Andhra Pradesh
12 people were struck dead by lightning and three injured in Srikakulam and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh, official sources said.
While seven people were killed in Srikakulam district alone, two more were killed in Kadapa and three injured, they said.
Lightning struck at different places in Srikakulam since Sunday afternoon even as rain, coupled with gales, lashed the district.
Srikakulam district collector Dhananjay Reddy told PTI that the seven casualties were reported from different mandals in the district.
Rain was also reported from Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts.
State deputy chief minister (Home) N China Rajappa, while condoling the deaths of people in lightning strikes, asked the respective district authorities to take necessary precautionary measures as per the warnings issued by the Disaster Management Department.
He said lightning strikes, rains and gales were likely in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts in north coastal Andhra, besides in Anantapuramu, Chittoor, Kadapa in Rayalaseema and SPS Nellore in the south coast.
2 dead, over 18 injured in Delhi; 70 flights diverted
At least two people were killed and more than 18 injured in Delhi after a squall and dust storm with a wind speed of up to 109 kmph barrelled through Delhi and neighbouring areas on Sunday.
The storm affected flight, rail and metro operations, uprooting trees, and leading to incidents of wall collapse.
The sky turned dark grey around 4.30 pm. Gusty winds and rain lashed the national capital, causing the temperature to drop around 10 notches to 25.2 degrees Celsius.