Dust storms in India kill at least 77 people and injure 143 as powerful winds destroy buildings, spark fires and trigger flooding

The apocalyptic storms have collapsed buildings, ripped trees from the ground and sparked fires.

In Uttar Pradesh, a school wall collapsed, killing 23 people, while in Saharanpur, a tree fell crushing and killing an eight-year-old girl.

In the neighbouring Rajasthan region, electricity poles and trees were uprooted, causing power cuts, blackouts and blocking roads.

A wall collapse in this region injured five, including three kids, while two other died when their house collapsed in the fierce winds.

A 12-year-old girl was also killed when a sheet of iron upended in the winds struck her in the head.

Rajan Vishal, an emergency official from Alwar, Rajasthan, told the Times of India: "We have alerted health department officials, including doctors, power department and district administration officials to provide treatment to those injured and repair the damage caused by the storm in the district."

Sanjay Kumar, a relief commissioner, said the devastation was particularly severe in Agra, the northern Indian city where the white marble monument of Taj Mahal is located.

The rainstorm caught people by surprise as the monsoon season is still more than six weeks away.


Dust storms are a common meteorological phenomenom in arid regions such as the subcontinent, Africa and the Middle East.

Also known as sand storms in desert areas, they are caused when powerful wind fronts send loose dirt and sand billowing into inhabited areas.

They often strike in tandem with thunderstorms, and are known to cause respiratory problems as well as worsening asthmna and spreading virus spores.

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