LUCKNOW, India — Workers rushed to restore electricity Friday to scores of towns and villages in five Indian states where a powerful dust storm and thundershowers caused more than 120 deaths and injured another 200.
Winds blew up to 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour as the storm swept through northern Uttar Pradesh and western Rajasthan states on Wednesday night, demolishing hundreds of mud huts, uprooting trees and causing extensive damage to wheat and vegetable crops. It also killed scores of cattle and buffalo.
The storm also damaged electric poles and transformers, plunging parts of 20 districts of Uttar Pradesh state into darkness, state Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said Friday.
Amid repair and relief work, India's meteorological department warned another powerful dust storm would sweep parts of the two states this weekend.
The Home Ministry said 73 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh state and 35 in Rajasthan state.
The storm also caused eight deaths in southern Telangana state and another eight deaths in northern Uttarakhand and Punjab states, it said.
Another 83 people in Uttar Pradesh state were injured by the storm, which sent tin roofs and advertising displays flying, Kumar said.
The devastation was particularly severe in Agra, the city where the white marble Taj Mahal is located. Forty-three people died there, but there was no damage to the monument, Kumar said.
In neighboring Rajasthan state, another 35 people were killed and another 150 were injured. Many of the dead were sleeping when their houses collapsed after being struck by lightning or gusts of wind.
The Press Trust of India news agency said the storm triggered traffic snarls and delayed some trains in Rajasthan state as overhead power lines snapped.
The rainstorm caught people by surprise as the monsoon season is still more than six weeks away.