Unseasonal rainstorm kills at least 30 in eastern India

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2015 6:37 AM

PATNA, India (AP) — An unseasonal storm with heavy rain and hail killed at least 30 people, injured more than a hundred and caused heavy damage to the winter wheat crop in eastern India, officials said Wednesday.

Most of the deaths were caused Tuesday night by tin roofs that were blown off of poor people's huts by winds reaching 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour) in northeastern parts of Bihar state. The storm subsided before daybreak.

State administrator Rajesh Kumar said 22 deaths were reported in Purnea district alone. Other deaths occurred in Supaul and Madhepura districts.

Nitish Kumar, the state's top elected official, said the storm also damaged mango and lychee crops.

Authorities launched relief efforts in 10 districts hit by the storm. The area is about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northeast of Patna, the state capital.

Unseasonal rain and hailstorms in March destroyed large areas of farmland in northern and western India, leading dozens of debt-ridden farmers to kill themselves.

In northern Uttar Pradesh state, more than three dozen farmers took their own lives, according to the state's government. The largely agrarian state — India's most populous, with 210 million people — declared a state of emergency to seek funds from the federal government to compensate farmers.