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People cover their noses as a dust storm envelops the city in New Delhi, India. A powerful dust storm and rain swept parts of north and western India overnight, causing house collapses, toppling trees and leaving dozens dead.

(Photo: AP)

More Thunderstorms Expected over Next 48 Hours: Home Ministry

A dust storm may hit parts of UP and Rajasthan in the next 48 hours due to cyclone formation in the region.

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A fresh warning about thunderstorm and squall hitting West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has been issued on 5 May, the home ministry said. According to a MeT official, a dust storm may hit parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in the next 48 hours due to cyclone formation in the region.

As many as 124 people have lost their lives and 300 left injured in the thunderstorms and lightning in the last two days in five states, the home ministry said on 4 May.

On Wednesday, 2 May, a storm barrelled through Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 106 people in a trail of destruction that brought down mud houses, uprooted trees and flattened crops. The dust storm was followed by thunder showers, which snapped power lines and sent tin roofs and street hoardings flying in parts of eastern Rajasthan and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh.

Seventy three people were killed in UP and 83 injured, eight in Telangana, six in Uttarakhand and two in Punjab. In Rajasthan, 35 died and another 100 were injured as winds over 100 kmph hit the region around 7 pm on Wednesday.

The worst period lasted about 45 minutes, according to reports from Dholpur in Rajasthan. But the extent of the damage only came to the fore later.

A Met official told PTI in Jaipur that his department had been issuing dust storm warnings and India Meteorological Department (IMD) Additional Director General Mritunjay Mohapatra said the trigger for the storm was a cyclonic rotation over Haryana.

Power supply was cut off in many areas as the squall uprooted trees and snapped electricity cables. In Rajasthan alone, 13,000 electricty poles fell and about 100 transformers were damaged. Officials said power was being gradually restored.

In towns, the storm triggered traffic snarls. Some trains were delayed as overhead power cables broke.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and said district authorities have been directed to ensure all possible help to victims. The state government said contingency funds have been released to district administrations.

In Rajasthan, Bharatpur district was the worst affected with 19 killed. Nine people died in Alwar and eight in Dholpur, officials said.

In UP, Agra district was the worst hit, accounting for at least 43 deaths and injuries to 51 others, officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the deaths and directed officials to coordinate with states to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation.

"Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted quoting Modi.

Besides Agra, the other storm-hit UP districts were Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao.

(With inputs from PTI)

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