Patna/Lucknow: Thunderstorms struck at several places in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 34 people as hutments collapsed and trees fell, officials said today.
Nineteen of them died in Bihar as high-velocity winds packing speeds of up to 70 km per hour swept across many areas last night, followed by pre-monsoon showers, the weather office here said.
According to the disaster management department, 16 out of the 19 deaths in Bihar were reported in four districts situated south of the Ganges.
Adjoining districts of Gaya and Aurangabad reported the maximum number of five deaths each.
In Aurangabad, all the deaths were caused by lightning and the victims included two women. In Gaya, collapsed roofs and falling trees killed five people, including two women aged 70 and 45, a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy.
Two girls and a boy were injured in Gaya, the department said.
Four people, including three children aged 8-14 years, died in Munger after being struck by lightning and one person was injured. Lightning claimed the lives of a 16-year-old girl and a 45-year-old man in Nawada district.
Three deaths were reported from Katihar in north Bihar where an 11-year-old girl, a 45-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man were crushed to death under trees uprooted by the storm.
Two women were injured.
In Uttar Pradesh, 15 people were killed and 10 injured, a senior official said today.
“While six persons were killed in Unnao in incidents of thunderstorm and lightning last night, three persons died in Raebareli, and two each in Kanpur, Pilibhit and Gonda districts,” UP Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said.
Among those injured, four belonged to Unnao and three each were from Kannauj and Raebareli, he said. He said the storm damaged hutments in Unnao and Rae Bareli districts.
District magistrates have been directed to ensure distribution of relief within 24 hours, UP Principal Secretary (Information) Awanish Awasthi said.
Unnao DM Ravikumar said while two deaths were due to lightning, the others died in incidents of house collapse, uprooting of trees and electric poles.
Movement of traffic on the main Hardoi-Unnao road was hit because of fallen trees, which were later removed, the DM said.
Rain and thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds, with speeds reaching 50-70 kmph, are very likely at isolated places in UP over the next couple of days, MeT officials said. There is a similar forecast for Bihar.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar condoled the deaths and issued instructions for quick disbursement of ex-gratia compensation.
Storms this month have left a trail of destruction in various states. On May 2-3, a storm killed 134 people and injured over 400 in five states.
Uttar Pradesh was the worst hit then with 80 deaths, most of them in Agra district.