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Uttar Pradesh: ‘Weak walls, roofs behind rising hailstorm deaths’

The walls and roofs of the houses we live in — which otherwise act as a shield against the vagaries of nature — are actually causing deaths during hailstorm in Uttar Pradesh.

lucknow Updated: Jun 05, 2018 12:54 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Hailstorm,Weak walls
Around 254 people died and 325 injured in spells of hailstorms that has hit 61 districts of UP since April 6.(HT Photo)

The walls and roofs of the houses we live in — which otherwise act as a shield against the vagaries of nature — are actually causing deaths during hailstorm in Uttar Pradesh.

Around 254 people died and 325 injured in spells of hailstorms that has hit 61 districts of UP since April 6.

According to state revenue department report, as many as 108 people lost their life in wall collapse, 47 died after trees fell on them, 16 died of lighting and another 24 died when the structure of the buildings fell on them.

The maximum 147 deaths have been reported from the West UP, followed by 52 deaths in Central UP, 30 in Terai region, 18 in East UP and seven in Bundelkhand region.

“While we all have to face the climatic shocks during hailstorm, the economically weaker section suffers the double shock as walls, roof or structure of their house collapses, killing or injuring the inhabitants,” said Venkatesh Dutta, associate professor, department of environment management and planning, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University.

This is in contrast to South India and coastal regions of the country where very few deaths are reported due to collapse of building structure. “This is because the district disaster management cells there assist people in constructing hazard proof houses,” Dutta said.

“While earlier the thickness of the wall used to be of nine inches, nowadays due to spurt in prices of bricks and other construction materials people are constructing less than five inches width wall. The quality of construction material is poor and people instead of consulting architects rely more on local unqualified masons,” said Dutta.

This could be the primary reason for the collapse of as many as 1,171 houses during hailstorms across the state since April.

The increasing death toll in the hailstorm and natural calamities clearly indicates that the state government should implement the hazard management with sincerity. (HT Photo)

A faculty in Geology Department in Lucknow University, Dhruva Sen Singh said, the hailstorms are definitely providing to relief and bringing down the soaring temperature but also taking lives because of collapsing trees, roofs, poles and walls.

“There is a need to create awareness among the masses and intervention by the state government departments,” he said.

While the forest department must cut old trees, those located in wetland and residing in dilapidated buildings should be evicted before the natural disaster, Singh said.

The increasing death toll in the hailstorm and natural calamities clearly indicates that the state government should implement the hazard management with sincerity, he said.

A revenue department officer, meanwhile, said the state government had tied up with Meteorological Department to provide information about the hailstorm three hours before so that alert can be sounded in the area. The district magistrates had been directed to launch rescue and relief operation immediately, he said.

First Published: Jun 05, 2018 12:54 IST