Wednesday , September 19 2018

Powerful dust storm, rain leaves 11 dead in northern India

LUCKNOW, India (AP) – A powerful dust and rain storm demolished homes and downed power lines in northern India, killing at least 11 people, an official said Thursday, a week after another unseasonable storm caused deaths and destruction in the same region.

The storm with winds blowing up to 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour swept western parts of Uttar Pradesh state on Wednesday night, toppling trees and demolishing dozens of mud and brick homes, said Avanish Awasthi, a state government official. Uprooted electric poles and downed wires plunged several villages and towns into darkness. In addition to the deaths, 25 people were injured.

The storm also hit New Delhi and parts of northern Himachal Pradesh and western Rajasthan states, but with weaker winds and no immediate reports of any casualties. The India Meteorological Department said the stormy conditions were subsiding in northern India.

On Wednesday night, four people died in Etawah district, three in Mathura district and one each in Agra, Aligarh, Kanpur and Firozabad towns in Uttar Pradesh state, Awasthi said.

A similar unseasonal powerful dust storm and thundershowers a week ago left more than 120 people dead and another 200 injured in five Indian states. Seventy-three of them died in the worst-hit northern Uttar Pradesh state alone.

The monsoon season is nearly six weeks away in India.

N. N. Srivastava, another Uttar Pradesh state official, said the storms have affected the lives of more than 100 million residents who also lost cattle, buffalo and crops. Schools and colleges were closed in several districts based on the storm warnings, he said.

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