At least 125 killed as storms batter India

Chandan Khanna—AFP

A deadly storm, which hit the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Wednesday has killed at least 78 people and left over 200 people injured. In Punjab, two people were killed in Patiala city when the boundary wall of an underconstruction house collapsed on them.

39 deaths were reported in the neighbouring desert state of Rajasthan, which was hit by winds of over 100 kilometres per hour, destroying houses, tearing up electricity networks, and uprooting trees.

A man is carried from the debris of his damaged home following a major dust storm in Etmadpur, in Agra district in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state.

While 62 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh - with 43 of them in the Taj city Agra alone - another 31 died in Rajasthan's Alwar, Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, officials said.

The storm also played havoc for farmers as large-scale damage was reported to standing crops and as per rought estimates, the losses could well run into several crore rupees.

"People are in shock and can't believe that such destruction happened in their village". Since the 1950s, dust storms have increased 10-fold, presumably due to human toll on the earth.

Hail and rain storms knocked down power poles and uprooted trees, killing at least 78 people in northern and western India, government officials say. Most deaths were caused by house collapses and lightning.

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Rajasthan, which that saw at least 31 dead, with causalities reported from Alwar, Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, may see another spell of duststorm and rains over next few days. The family can't believe it. "Their parents are so distraught and can not stop crying". Schools in Alwar are now closed, reported BBC.

Shivam Lohia, a local hotel owner in Rajasthan told the AFP, "I haven't seen such a devastating storm in at least 25 years".

"Condolences to the bereaved families", he tweeted. Learning from the past incident of damages done by dust storm, the state government demanded to the government to include dust storm in disaster for releasing compensation for financial help.

"There was the clanking sound of tin roofs being blown away and motorcycles getting dragged", he said. "May the injured recover soon", Modi said.

The India Meterological Department (IMD) has warned of severe thunderstorms in 32 districts of UP, including Gorakh-pur, Ballia, Mau, Ghazi-pur, Ambedkar Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Basti, Kushinagar, Maharajg-anj, Siddharthanagar, Gonda, Balrampur, Shra-vasti, Sitapur, Bahraich, Lakhimpur, Shahjahan-pur, Pilibhit, Rampur, Bareilly, Badaun, Aligarh, Etah, Amroha, Mathura, Greater Noida, Bulandshahr, Moradabad Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnore and Baghpat.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to personally monitor relief operations.

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