Storm kills 33, injures 80 in India

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NEW DELHI: A powerful storm swept through India’s eastern Bihar state overnight leaving at least 33 people dead and destroying crops and properties, officials and a report said Wednesday.

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The storm lashed several districts across the impoverished state, uprooting trees and toppling power lines, the officials said.

“Thirty three people are confirmed dead and over 80 are injured,” Vyasji, principal secretary of Bihar’s disaster management department, said.

“Communication and electricity has been disrupted in the storm-hit areas and roads blocked with fallen trees,” Vyasji, who uses only one name, told AFP.

“The extent of damage will be known only after we are able to reach all the areas.”

Bihar’s director general of police, P K Thakur, said he feared the death toll could rise, with rescue workers still trying to reach some of the storm-hit areas.

“We are carrying out rescue operations in many areas. The damage is extensive and many areas are cut off,” he told AFP.

“The confirmed death toll is 33 but we fear it may go up because we haven’t been able to reach all the places.”

Thousands of flimsy huts, home to poor labourers, were destroyed along with wheat, maize and pulse crops, the Press Trust of India reported, while photos showed power poles lying on the ground.

India’s weather bureau said the storm was packing winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) an hour when it struck the state, the news agency said.

India’s eastern states are often lashed at this time of year ahead of the monsoon season by severe storms that cause deaths and massive property damage.

AFP

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