A heavy dust storm swept across several parts of western and northern India on Wednesday, killing at least 68 people and injuring hundreds in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand and leaving a trail of destruction, uprooting trees and disrupting power supply in Punjab and Haryana as well.
At least 42 people were killed in four districts of western Uttar Pradesh. thirty six people were killed in Agra, three in Bijnore, two in Saharanpur and one in Bareilly, state government officials said.
Bharatpur suffered the maximum damage in Rajasthan in terms of loss to life as 16 people were killed in the district. Nine people died in neighbouring Dholpur in the high-speed dust storm that started around 7pm and wreaked havoc for two hours.
Four deaths were reported from Alwar and one each from Jhunjhunu and Bikaner.
Most deaths occurred in house collapse due to the storm, officials in Rajasthan said.
Uttarakhand Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre (DMMC) said at least two people were killed in Kumaon and few more injured in other parts after rains and thunderstorm lashed the hill state on Wednesday night.
A squall and dust storm followed by heavy rain also lashed New Delhi on Wednesday evening and caused traffic snarls in some parts of the national capital.
Normal life was also hit in many places in Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday after a high-velocity dust storm. In Patiala, two people were killed after a thunderstorm. Light to moderate rains also lashed many places.