Scores dead as powerful dust storm, heavy rains strike India

A powerful dust storm, heavy rain and lightning struck parts of India on Sunday evening killing at least 60 people and leaving behind a trail of destruction.

The storm, with a wind speed of up to 109 kilometers per hour (68 miles per hour), destroyed dozens of homes and uprooted trees and power lines in northern Uttar Pradesh state, government official Avneesh Awasthi said.

Authorities said at least 38 people were killed in the state.

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Nearly 100 houses were gutted in a fire sparked by lightning in the state’s Sambhal district, Indian broadcaster NDTV reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “saddened by the loss of lives due to storms in some parts of the country.”

The dust storm struck just days after similar unseasonal storms left more than 120 people dead across northern India. Uttar Pradesh was the worst-hit.

India’s weather office said the dust storms were a result of western disturbances over Jammu and Kashmir state and cyclonic circulation in the northwestern region, NDTV reported.

The meteorological department has warned of more thunderstorms over the next two days.

The Sunday evening storm killed two people and injured 18 in the Indian capital, New Delhi, where trains and commuter rail lines were paused and dozens of flights were diverted.

Another 12 people were killed in eastern West Bengal state and nine in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh by lightning and heavy rains.

ap/ng (AP, AFP)

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