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Dust storm in North India claims more than 85 lives


  New Delhi/Jaipur /Lucknow, More than 85 people died and as many as 140 were injured in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan after duststorms and hurricane struck parts of Northern India Wednesday night. Maximum damage took place in Agra district, Uttar Pradesh where 36 people lost their lives. Many houses were damaged and a large number of animals were killed. Trees got uprooted and more than 50 people died in Uttar Pradesh and at least 40 people were injured. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives on Thursday. 'Saddened to hear about loss of lives due to thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in Rajasthan, UP, Punjab and other parts of north India,' the President wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter. Authorities were taking steps to help affected people, he said. 'Condolences to the bereaved families and wishing an early recovery to injured,' he wrote.The Prime Minister also expressed condolence over the loss of lives in the dust storm and wished the injured speedy recovery. 'Have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected,' Mr Modi tweeted. According to reports from Rajasthan, 34 people lost their lives and more than 100 people were injured. The state government has provided assistance of Rs four lakh to the kin of the deceased, and has provided an amount of Rs 2.5 crore from the Disaster Relief Fund for the affected districts and started rescue and relief work in the affected areas. Expressing sadness on the deaths, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condoled the loss of lives. Former Chief Minister and Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot cancelled programmes being organised on his birthday. State Congress president Sachin Pilot also expressed his condolences and urged the state government to provide immediate relief to the affected people. Disaster and Relief Minister of Rajasthan, Gulab Chand Kataria reviewed the situation in the state with the disaster management authorities. According to the information received so far, 34 people -- 16 in Bharatpur, 11 in Alwar and seven in Doulpur-- and more than 100 people have been injured in the state, Mr Kataria said. It is not immediately known immediately that how much damage has been caused though the authorities have been instructed to assess the damage. He said that apart from this disaster, the amount of Rs 2.5 crore has been transferred for disaster relief works in the most affected districts of Bharatpur, Alwar and Dhaulpur. Rs one crore have been allocated for Bharatpur, Rs 85 lakh for Dholpur and Rs 65 lakh for Alwar. He said district collectors have been instructed to start immediate rescue and relief work and teams of NDRF have started working in the affected areas. More than 50 people died in the storm in Uttar Pradesh. The most impacted were Agra, where 36 people died. Hail and dust storm created a major destruction in the Braj region. The storm at 132 kms per hour wrecked havoc in 15 minutes, claiming 36 lives in Agra divisional districts. Agra divisional commissioner Ram Mohan Rao told UNI that at least 36 people died due to dust storm. Many injured have been admitted to different hospitals. He said the standing crop was damaged causing a huge loss to farmers. He said that the damage in the area was being assessed and the first priority was the treatment of the injured. There was also information about the death of animals in the gusty wind storm. Agra District Magistrate Gaurav Dayal said in view of the large number of dead, magistrate has been deputed in the post-mortem department. Apprehending new storm, a special team of doctors has been formed and security arrangements tightened. Emergency services and doctors of the district hospital have been alerted. According to a report from Saharanpur, in the wake of storm last evening, trees fell in many places and rooftops of houses were blown away. Two people, including a nine-year-old girl, died after a tree fell in Bihagargarh. The mango crop has suffered heavy damage. In Muzaffarnagar, power supply was disrupted. According to the report received from Unnao, a 55-year-old elderly woman died due to a storm in the Piparasar village of Bighapur area and a five-year old girl died in Balia. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed district collectors to provide immediate relief to the people affected by the storm and rain. He said officers of districts concerned were providing immediate relief to those affected by storm. No laxity will be tolerated in the relief work, he has said. In the capital Lucknow, there was heavy rain accompanied by storm and heavy loss of crops and uprooted trees were being reported. Two people were killed in lightning in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh.Police sources said on Wednesday night, a tree fell on a kucha house due to strong winds in Ichaul village of Uchehra station area. Two children were buried in the rubble. Five-year old girl died and another was admitted to the district hospital here. Apart from this, a person died in Ghorahati village of Nagoud police station area. Rajkumar Kushwaha (35) was seriously injured who died on way to hospital.

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