New Delhi, May 4: At least 127 people were reported dead in the thunderstorms that wreaked havoc over parts of the country on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, said media reports. Several houses collapsed and trees and electricity poles were uprooted. UP and Rajasthan were worst hit with as many as 112 casualties reported, said The Times of India.
UP reported 73 deaths; 46 in Agra district alone. Taj Mahal’s gate was damaged by heavy rains, said another report. In Rajasthan, 39 people were killed while Telangana reported seven deaths, Uttarakhand four, and Jharkhand and Punjab two each. “Concrete houses came down like pack of cards one after the other. Trees, streetlights and whatever stood taller than a few feet were flattened by the winds. We took out victims from debris of houses and ferried them to hospitals on motorcycles, ” Narendra Sharma, SHO of Kheragarh police station, Agra, told TOI. The state government has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the victims, Rs 2 lakh to those sustaining 60 percent injuries and Rs 60,000 to those with 40-50 percent injuries, said Business Standard.
In Rajasthan, while the official figures were of 33 deaths, unofficial sources pegged the casualties at 39. Over 200 people were injured in Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts. All of Thursday, power and water supply were disrupted, adding to people’s woes. Reports say 12,700 electricity polls were uprooted and 1,523 transformers damaged in the three districts. More than 50,000 trees were also uprooted. The Chief Minister has deputed her ministers to oversee relief work in the affected districts.
According to PTI, another dust storm may hit UP and Rajasthan in the next 48-odd hours. “There is a high probability that winds will intensify in the next 48 hours in Rajasthan, which may lead to another dust storm. It will affect areas of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan border, especially Karauli and Dholpur,” Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist Himanshu Sharma told PTI.
Meanwhile, PTI also reported that days before the storm, the Meteorological Department did issue a “severe thunderstorm activity” warning for several places, but none were in UP and Rajasthan, the two worst-hit states. Warnings were issued for May 2 and 3 for Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha along with other places in eastern and northeastern India as per the advisory issued on April 30. There was no mention of such activity over Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.