300 villages gutted; 45 killed in storm | india | Hindustan Times
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300 villages gutted; 45 killed in storm

india Updated: May 14, 2008 23:15 IST
Haidar Naqvi

The devastating dust storm that hit the city and adjoining districts killed about 45 people. Many are still feared trapped in the rubbles.

Some 300 villages were gutted in fire, which was stoked by the winds blowing at 120 km/h. Reports coming in say the maximum casualties were in Kannauj where 12 persons died. Five of them were children who had taken refuge in a house, which caught fire seconds later. Nine persons died in Etawah, seven in Kanpur Dehat, four in Kanpur city, three in Auraiya, four in Jalaun, three in Farrukhabad, three in Unnao and one in Fatehpur. The officials said the death toll could go up further.

The winds uprooted thousands of tree, twisted electricity poles in Kanpur and Jhansi divisions comprising 10 districts.

Telephone and rail services were badly hit in all these districts. The mango crop is said to be affected adversely by the storm.

NK Srivastava, DIG of Kanpur Range, said police units sent to the affected districts assisting relief operations assessed the losses as severe. "None of villages has a house left, five children were burnt to death in Saurikh and seven more died in Chamarpurwa of Gursahaigunj," Tahir Siddiqui, Gurasahaigunj MLA, said. Heavy loss of property was reported from Etawah where fire broke out in 150 villages, killing nine persons.

The traffic on Kanpur-Farukhabad roads has been suspended for the time being, as the uprooted trees could not be moved. Largescale devastation has been reported from Banda, Chitrakoot and Hamirpur districts where several villages went down in fire.