The sandstorm in India took the lives of 77 people

Hugh Fox
May 3, 2018

Officials say the death toll could increase, said the report.

The storm also hit the capital Delhi, more than 100km away, along with heavy rains late on Wednesday evening.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said she was grief-stricken following the loss of lives and added that the officials have been directed to ensure all possible help to victims.

According to the weather bulletin on Thursday afternoon, thunderstorm with gusty winds was very likely at isolated places in several parts of northern India.

Besides the 43 deaths from Agra, three people died each in Bijnore and Kanpur Dehat (Rural) and one each in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Chitrakoot, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Mathura, Amroha, Kannauj, Banda, Kanpur city, Sitapur, Sambhal and Mirzapur.

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"We have directed Ministers and concerned officials to affected areas to begin relief work immediately and restore utilities".

Last month, a similar storm killed at least 15 people in Uttar Pradesh and destroyed two minarets over an entry house to the Taj Mahal.

At least 64 people died and another 67 were injured in northern Uttar Pradesh state, Mr Kumar said.

"Agra was the most affected district in Uttar Pradesh, State Revenue and Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar reportedly said". In many areas, the power supply is yet to be restored. According to Indian Media, Agra District is most severely affected by the storm. "In most of these areas, the roofs collapsed or trees fell on the houses, or the walls collapsed injuring people". Some people were also reportedly injured or killed by lightning.

Dust storms have hit India in the past, but what made Wednesday's winds so deadly was the debris.

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Kumar said that the uprooted trees razed the poor mud houses.

"Five persons have died in different incidents due to the dust storm".

The stormy weather comes in the wake of a heat wave that pushed temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius.

Hemant Gera, head of Rajasthan´s Disaster Management and Relief Department, said emergency services were on alert and that people should not sleep outdoors.

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