Over 30people have been killed in separate weather-related incidents across 4 states – Andhra Pradesh, Delhi Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – as lightning and dust storm hit parts of the country on Sunday.
The weather department had issued a warning of thunderstorm with squall for several parts of the country including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
A thunderstorm accompanied with squall with wind speed reaching 50-70 kilometres per hour are “very likely” at isolated places over east Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand, the IMD had said.
At least 10 people have been reported dead in separate incidents in Uttar Pradesh which was recently hit by two such incidents within a week, taking over 100 lives.
One woman was killed and another man was seriously injured after a hoarding fell on them due to a heavy dust storm in Greater Noida.
In Ghaziabad, one person was killed and four others were injured after a tree fell on them near Lal Kuan Shiv temple during the thunderstorm.
At least two people have been reported dead and 18 injured in Delhi due to dust storm. Four incidents of wall collapse were reported from various parts of Delhi, a Fire Service officer said. The incidents were reported from Najafgarh, Transit Camp, Nehru Place, Mohan Garden in Uttam Nagar and Raj Nagar in Palam.
The strong winds knocked down a number of trees in the city.
A squall and dust storm with a wind speed of up to 109 kmph barrelled through Delhi and neighbouring areas, affecting flight, rail and metro operations, uprooting trees, and leading to incidents of wall collapse.
The sky turned dark grey around 4:30 pm. Gusty winds and rain lashed the national capital, causing the temperature to drop around 10 notches.
The change in weather came after a sweltering day, when the maximum temperature had reached 40.60 degrees Celsius, a notch above the normal. Humidity during the morning hours was recorded at 60 per cent, a MeT official said.
Over 70 flights were diverted due bad weather at Delhi’s IGI airport while metro services were affected on Blue and Violet lines.
Nine persons were struck dead by lightning and three injured in Srikakulam and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh today, official sources said.
While seven persons were killed in Srikakulam district alone, two more were killed in Kadapa and three injured, they said.
Lightning struck at different places in Srikakulam since afternoon even as rain, coupled with gales, lashed the district.
Srikakulam district Collector Dhananjay Reddy told PTI that the seven casualties were reported from different mandals in the district.
Rain was also reported from Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts.
State Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa, while condoling the deaths of persons in lightning strikes, asked the respective district authorities to take necessary precautionary measures as per the warnings issued by the Disaster Management Department.
He said lightning strikes, rains and gales were likely in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts in north coastal Andhra, besides in Anantapuramu, Chittoor, Kadapa in Rayalaseema and SPS Nellore in the south coast.
At least 12 people, including four children, were killed and over 15 injured in different districts of West Bengal, after lightning struck them amid heavy rains today, an official of the state disaster management department said.
Five deaths were reported from Howrah district’s Uluberia sub-division, while there were two deaths each in Paschim Midnapore, North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts, and one in Murshidabad district, he said.
A person in Howrah district suffered serious injuries and was undergoing treatment at a local hospital, the official said.
According to Murshidabad district police, Shankar Mondal (50) was working at a field in Jalangi area of the district, when he was killed in a lightning strike.
In Howrah district, among the five dead, four children, aged between 8 and 12 years, were in a field collecting mangoes during a thunderstorm when lightning hit them in Bordanga under Uluberia police station, a police officer said.
The boys were taken to a local hospital where they were declared brought dead, he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her government would provide assistance to the families of the deceased, as well as those whose houses and crops have been damaged.
“We do not have control over nature. We will not be able to bring back those who have died, but our government will be beside these families and help them in every possible manner,” she told a news channel.
Reiterating that the model code of conduct ahead of tomorrow’s panchayat elections in the state was not applicable in case of a disaster, she said the chief secretary has been asked to carry out a survey of the losses.
“We are yet to ascertain the estimate of the damages. We will do a survey based on which we will help the families,” Banerjee said.