New Delhi, May 14: At least 40 were killed in the storm and rain that hit Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal on Sunday, May 13. Throwing lives out of gear, the Sunday thunderstorm uprooted trees and snapped electricity lines and left a string of destruction across India. The Indian Meteorological Department has said that thunderstorm is expected in the next 48 to 72 hours due to western disturbances and has issued an orange category warning. “There is a circulation of a western disturbance in North West India. We had forecasted that the weather will be adverse for 2-3 days. This thunderstorm will continue for the next 48 to 72 hours,” Charan Singh, Scientist, Indian Meteorological Department said.

At least 18 people were killed and 28 injured in dust storms in Uttar Pradesh. Principal Secretary Awanish Awasthi informed that five people died in Kasganj, three in Bulandshahr, two each from Ghaziabad and Saharanpur and one each in Etawah, Aligarh, Kannauj, Hapur, Noida, and Sambhal. “CM Yogi Adityanath has directed all district magistrates and commissioners to provide immediate relief and ensure that the injured are provided medical care immediately,” he said.

At least 12 deaths were reported from West Bengal. As many as 15 were injured as lightning struck them during heavy rains. West Bengal CM said that the government will provide assistance to the ones who are affected in the storm. “…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 said.

As many as nine people died in Andhra Pradesh and two died in Delhi-NCR. Following the storm, a total of 70 flights were mostly diverted to Jaipur, Amritsar, and Lucknow as a dust storm, with wind speed exceeding 100 kilometre per hour, brought operations at the IGI airport to a halt during the evening rush hours. The operations at the airport had to be shut down for close to two and half hours, sources at Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the airport said.

The source added that the magnitude of the disruptions in traffic was more than what was anticipated.

President, PM Express Condolences

President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi condoled the deaths due to thunderstorms which swept across parts of northern India, claiming 40 lives and leaving scores of people injured. “Sad to hear of loss of lives due to rain and thunderstorms in different parts of the country. Condolences to those bereaved. Thoughts with fellow citizens who have been affected, especially little children #PresidentKovind,” President Kovind said.

Expressing his condolences, Narendra Modi took to Twitter and said, “Saddened by the loss of lives due to storms in some parts of the country. Condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured. Asked officials to provide all possible assistance to those affected.”

“At least 18 people have been reportedly killed in lightning strikes in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal today. My condolences to their families. I urge Congress party workers to provide all possible assistance to the bereaved families,” the Congress President said.

With agency inputs