Disastrous Sand Storms Killed almost 100 People in India

Numerous deaths happened while people were sleeping, being crushed by toppling roofs and collapsing walls.

Some media are reporting up to 100 people have been killed.

While dust storms in the summer, that are accompanied by strong winds are common in northern India - casualties are usually not so high.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) additional director general Mritunjay Mohapatra said the trigger for the storm was a cyclonic circulation over Haryana. The dust storm flattened mud houses during the night, which resulted in the increased death count as the residents were not able to flee from their homes.

Meanwhile, at least 36 people died in Rajasthan's eastern districts of Alwar, Dholpur and Bharatpur, according to Hemant Gera of the Rajasthan government's Disaster Management Department.

Uttar Pradesh's state relief commissioner for the National Disaster Management Authority in India, Sanjay Kumar told CNN, "Many houses collapsed due to high intensity winds, or the trees fell over onto the houses". According to reports, authorities fear that the number of people who have died may go up.

In east Rajasthan, apart from Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur, the department has warned dust storm/heat wave till Monday in Bhilwara and Bundi districts.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is campaigning for the BJP in Karnataka, has told officials to ensure rescue and relief work in the worst hit Agra, Bijnore, Bareilly, Unnao, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar and Rae Bareli districts.

Some districts reported 45 minutes of destructive winds followed by fierce lightning storms. That figure is expected to continue to climb as officials survey the damage left in the storms' wake.

Agra district in Uttar Pradesh was one of the worst hit areas, with at least 43 people killed. Damage to the respiratory system from a dust storm can cause asthma, lung cancer, or a unique phenomenon known as dust pneumonia. He added that the injured would get a maximum of Rs 2 lakh depending on the seriousness of the injuries.

He directed officials to personally monitor relief operations, warning against any laxity. Reports said about 150 animals have also died due to the nature's fury.

Dehradun: Four people, including a nine-year-old boy, were killed and eight others were injured in a dust storm in Uttarakhand on Wednesday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he was saddened by the loss of life.

Almost 200 others were injured as a massive dust storm last night, followed by thundershowers, snapped power lines and sent tin roofs and street hoardings flying in parts of eastern Rajasthan and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh. "Condolences to the bereaved families".

  • Rogelio Becker