Thunderstorms, lightning kill 80 in 5 states

Commuters travel along a road during a heavy dust storm in Ajmer, Rajasthan, on Monday. AFP

As many as 80 people have been killed in five states due to thunderstorms and lightning strikes since Sunday, with Uttar Pradesh alone recording 51 deaths, the Home Ministry said on Monday.

Fourteen people died in West Bengal, 12 in Andhra Pradesh, two in Delhi and one in Uttarakhand, a ministry spokesperson said.

Of the 136 people injured in lightning strikes and thunderstorms, 123 were from Uttar Pradesh, 11 from Delhi and two from Uttarakhand.

Dust storms and thunderstorms wreaked havoc in Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, leaving a trail of destruction.

High-velocity winds uprooted trees and affected road, rail and air services at a number of places in north India, including the national capital.

UP scene

In Uttar Pradesh, the storm uprooted trees, electric poles and triggered house collapse at several places, especially in the western region of the state.

Sambhal, Bareilly, Kasganj, Barabanki accounted for the majority of deaths. Large number of livestock also perished in the storm.

Several houses caught fire after being struck by lightning, reports said.

The storm also adversely affected flight and train operations. Lucknow's Amausi airport witnessed chaotic scenes after passengers created a ruckus as their flights were either cancelled or delayed.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the officials to launch relief and rescue operations on a war footing in affected districts.

Thunderstorms also occurred at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said on Sunday.

The devastation comes over 12 days after storms hit Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Punjab, killing 134 people and injuring over 400. Uttar Pradesh was the worst affected, accounting for 80 deaths, most of them in Agra district. Subsequently, on May 9, several parts of Uttar Pradesh were struck by a severe storm that left 18 dead and 27 others injured.

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