NEW DELHI (AFP) – Powerful dust storms tore across northern India killing at least 100 people and injuring more than 140 as they flattened houses in their path and warnings were made Thursday of more chaos to come.
Winds of more than 130 kilometres (80 miles) per hour ravaged Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab states and the death toll was expected to rise, officials said.
The dust storms brought down feeble mud houses, killing people as they slept. Walls, trees and electricity pylons were all torn down by the winds which were followed by fierce lightning storms.
Similar storms kill hundreds of people each year in India, but these were some of the most severe in recent decades.
Shivam Lohia, who owns a resort hotel in Alwar district of Rajasthan, said he abandoned his car on the road ran for his life after it was almost blown away.
“I haven’t seen such a devastating storm in at least 25 years. Everyone was scared and running for cover as trees and homes were getting blown away. It was a nightmare,” Lohia told AFP.