May 03, 2018
Fierce winds and lightening strikes created by a powerful dust storm have killed at least 81 people in northwestern India since late Wednesday, according to local authorities.
At least 81 killed by high-intensity dust storms in India
In the state of Rajasthan, at least 31 people died and around 120 people were injured after winds downed more than 8,000 electricity poles and uprooted hundreds of trees, Jaipur District Divisional Commissioner T. Ravi Kant told CNN.
"This has resulted in widespread electricity cuts and water shortages. Most of the deaths occurred after walls and roofs of houses collapsed in the middle of the night," he said.
At least 81 killed by high-intensity dust storms in India
In neighboring Uttar Pradesh, the death toll stood at 50, with the vast majority of those deaths occurring in the city of Agra, where 43 have been confirmed dead.
According to Sanjay Kumar, the relief commissioner at the Uttar Pradesh state disaster management authority, the high casualty number is the result of people becoming trapped under falling debris. "Many houses collapsed due to high intensity winds, or the trees fell over onto the houses," said Kumar.
At least 81 killed by high-intensity dust storms in India
According to CNN affiliate CNN News 18, the Uttar Pradesh state government has sounded an alert for the next 48 hours in anticipation of an increase in the numbers killed or injured in the storm.
The Prime Minister's office said in a statement on Twitter that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was saddened by the loss of lives from the storm.
"(I) have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected," Modi said in the statement.
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