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India puts 13 states on high storm alert for next 48 hours

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Staff Writer | May 7, 2018
India has put as many as 13 of its states and two central government-territories on high storm alert for the next 48 hours.
India storm
Weather   The alert is citing a weather department prediction:
In an advisory, the Indian Home Ministry has said that thunderstorms and rains are likely to occur in these 13 states and two central government-controlled territories Monday and Tuesday, asking the respective governments to take all necessary precautions.

The alert, citing a weather department prediction, comes after rains, thunderstorms, dust storms and lightning claimed the lives of over 125 people in five states in India last week.

According to the weather department, heavy rains are likely in six northeastern states -- Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura Monday. It has predicted thunderstorm and hailstorm in the northern states of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab too.

Similarly thunderstorm and squall are likely to hit the northern Indian states of Haryana, the central government-controlled Chandigarh and the Indian capital Monday.

"Dust storms are likely in Haryana and neighboring state of Rajasthan. As a result of which, all schools in Haryana have been asked to keep shut Monday and Tuesday. The step is to prevent any untoward situation and keep children safe," an official said.

Parents in Delhi say that the local government should take a cue from Haryana.

"The Delhi government should have also ordered closure of schools like in Haryana. It's for the safety of our wards. But so far, we have not heard anything from the government," said Raj Rishi, a parent whose child studies in Delhi Public School.

The other states put on alert include Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the north, Bihar and West Bengal in the east, and Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south. These states are likely to be hit by thunderstorm and gusty winds Tuesday, according to the weather department.

Last week, more than 125 people died and over 300 others injured in fierce dust storms in northern and western India. The storm also brought down electricity poles, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and killed livestock in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.

The district of Agra in Uttar Pradesh state, home to the iconic Taj Mahal monument, was one of the areas worst hit. Many of those killed had been asleep indoors when their houses caved in after being struck by lightning or gusts of wind.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condoled the loss of lives. "Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," he tweeted.