16 killed, 100 injured as storm hits northwestern India, 80% crop loss

16 killed, 100 injured as storm hits northwestern India, 80% crop loss

At least 16 people were killed in unprecedented storms and rainfall in the state of Rajasthan, India on April 11, 2018. Five people were killed in Bharatpur district and 11, including five children, in Dholpur district. At least 100 people got injured. Local farmers are reporting 80% crop loss.

Heavy rain lashed northwestern India and isolated places, as storms with wind speed exceeding 100 km/h (62 mp/h) created havoc in the region. Rain and thunderstorms uprooted trees in many localities in the state and lashed several other parts of north and northwest India such as Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana, NDTV reported.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, a thunderstorm brought a 3.6 meter (12 feet) metal pillar at the entry gate of the Taj Mahal complex crashing down on the night of April 11. At least four people in Mathura and one person in Bijnor were killed in the storm, which also damaged several power poles and uprooted trees.

Rain and hailstorm in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have damaged the ripe wheat and other rabi crops ready for harvest. Unseasonal rain has already delayed harvesting by a week say farmers in Rajasthan. Farmers are protesting crop loses due to hailstorm and today many blocked the Mathura Expressway, according to news agency ANI. "There is nothing left now, more than 80 percent of the crop has been destroyed," farmers say.

The district administration has said that the toll figures might increase as they were collecting figures from both the districts where thousands of trees were uprooted and phone lines got damaged.

In Dholpur, most of the deaths reported were due to roofs and walls of houses collapsing in at least six villages. There are reports of fire due to a short circuit in seven houses, where four people died. Several main streets were waterlogged in Dholpur and train traffic was also affected on the Agra-Dholpur line, according to NDTV.

"Most of these deaths happened due to a collapse of houses in the storm. At most of the places victims were sleeping," said a senior officer of Dholpur district administration. The heavy rainfall also affected railway services where trees fell down on the tracks. "The Dholpur-Bharatpur rail route remained closed for almost 2 hours and it was restored by day on April 12," railway officer said, according to The Times of India.

In Bharatpur, many villages were in the dark after electric poles and transformers were damaged.

Hospitals in Bharatpur and Dholpur were packed and the patients lying in the corridors as at least 100 people injured in rain-related incidents in these districts.

Featured image: Heavy rain in Rajasthan, India / Asian News International

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