Powerful dust storms kill and injure dozens in India

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At least 45 people have been killed in Uttar Pradesh as dust storms engulfed large swathes of north India.

A a policeman directs traffic during a dust storm in New Delhi. Several houses collapsed, while electricity poles and trees were uprooted in sandstorms.

Of the casualties, many have been caused by lightning, which struck at many places after the dust storm settled down. He said contigency funds had been released to the three district administrations.

"I haven't seen such a devastating storm in at least 25 years".

Homes now lay in ruin with downed trees and electrical lines.

Alwar hotel owner Shivam Lohia said he abandoned his auto after it was nearly blown off the road.

The devastation is particularly severe in Agra, the northern Indian city where the Taj Mahal is located, according to officials.

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In the state of Rajasthan, at least 27 people were reported dead and 100 others injured in three districts, according to the Times of India.

Hundreds of mud-built houses in villages of the areas hit by the dust storm collapsed and more than 500 trees were uprooted, many of which fell on stationary vehicles and snapped power cables. Many people in India sleep outside during the summer months to escape the high temperatures.

Mr Gera said teams were trying to restore electricity to homes after 200 to 300 electricity poles were felled in the storm.

"As per the latest figures received, 64 people were killed and 47 injured in the dust storm in different parts of the state", Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said.

Tweeting condolence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had directed central officials to coordinate with respective state governments for relief work. The districts of Dholpur, Bharatpur and Alwar were the worst affected.

Some 150 animals have also reportedly been killed as a result. The official weather department, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast thunderstorm and squall for the next 48 hours (May 3-4).

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