A dust storm approaches the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan. (Source: PTI)

Dust Storm Wreaks Havoc In Three Rajasthan Districts, Toll Climbs To 27

At least 27 people were killed and nearly 100 injured as a high-intensity squall followed by thunder showers hit parts of Rajasthan overnight, leaving a trail of destruction.

Houses collapsed and electricity poles and trees were uprooted as the severe dust storm swept the Matsya region. “So far, 27 people have died due to the disaster, including 12 in Bharatpur, 10 in Dholpur and five in Alwar. The squall was reported mainly in three districts,” said Hemant Kumar Gera, secretary of Disaster Management and Relief. Two of those killed in Dholpur were from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

Nearly 100 were injured in the disaster, with 20 injured in Alwar, 32 in Bharatpur and 50 in Dholpur respectively, added Gera.  “A few are undergoing primary treatment while others have been discharged. One critical patient from Dholpur was referred to Jaipur,” he said.

Vehicle ride past on a road during a dust storm in Bikaner (Source: PTI)
Vehicle ride past on a road during a dust storm in Bikaner (Source: PTI)

A detailed report of the disaster is awaited even as relief and rescue teams have been pressed into service to clear debris and restore power supply. Contingency funds have been released to the respective district administration.

A compensation Rs 4 lakh will be given to family members of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh to persons sustaining 60 percent injuries and Rs 60,000 to people with 40 to 50 percent injuries.
Hemant Kumar Gera, Secretary, Disaster Management And Relief

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and said that the authorities concerned in the districts have been directed to provide all possible help to the victims. “Condolences to families who lost their loved ones,” she said on Twitter.

In view of the calamity, Congress National General Secretary Ashok Gehlot cancelled his birthday celebrations at his official residence in Jaipur. “We are extremely grieved at the loss of lives in the state and stand with the victims in this hour of tragedy…I cancel all celebrations at my residence today. Blood donation camps and Janhit programs can be continued by organisers,” he said.