India dust storms: More than 100 killed in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan

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At least 95 people have died and scores more injured in fierce dust storms that hit the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The storms on Wednesday disrupted electricity, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and killed livestock.

Many of the dead were sleeping when their houses collapsed after being struck by intense bursts of lightning.

Dust storms are common in this part of India during summer but loss of life on this scale is unusual.

Sixty-four people died in Uttar Pradesh, 43 of them in Agra district which is home to the Taj Mahal monument. Officials say the death toll could increase.

Falling trees and walls killed many people in the state.

The state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to personally monitor relief operations.

Relief commissioner Sanjay Kumar told PTI that the state government has “sought a detailed report from the affected districts”.

The storms also affected three districts in neighbouring Rajasthan – Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur – where at least 31 people were killed. Officials say Alwar is worst affected. Schools in the district are closed.

The state government has also announced that families of the dead will receive 400,000 rupees (about $6,000; £4,400) as compensation.

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