125 dead in storm in West Bengal, Bihar, Assam

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 09:15 hrs

Kolkata: Indian authorities on Thursday fanned out rescuers across the eastern states of West Bengal and Bihar that were lashed by a storm on Tuesday night as officials pegged the toll in the calamity at over 125.
 
The state of Bihar was the worst hit with at least 81 people killed in eastern parts of the state while nearly 100,000 were rendered homeless.
 
Disaster management principal secretary of Bihar Vyasji said relief work has been undertaken and Rs 1.5 lakh would be paid the families of dead.


 
Officials said the toll is likely to rise as many people are feared trapped under the debris.
 
As many as 39 deaths were reported from Purnia, 33 from Araria, 7 from Katihar, and one each from Kishanganj and Supaul districts.

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A portion of the jail wall in Araria district in Bihar collapsed under the impact of the storm and over 600 jail inmates were transferred to the Purnia jail.
 
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar made an aerial survey of the affected districts.
 
The affected people in Bihar are also being given one quintal rice, some cash and asbestos sheets to rebuild their dwellings.
 
In West Bengal, North Dinajpur district was worst affected, with at least 43 deaths confirmed by West Bengal Small Scale Industry Minister Manab Mukherjee.
 
“We are assessing the damage. We have announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kins of the deceased, besides relief and some cash amount for those who were rendered homeless,” he said.
 
Around 50,000 houses have been damaged in the storm, officials said. The roofs of six police barracks have also been blown away, local reports said.
 
Several roads, including National Highway 34, were blocked by trees, impeding rescue operations. Telephone and power lines snapped, resulting in a blackout in the affected areas.
 
Reports of deaths also poured from Dhubri district of western Assam state.
 
Squally winds caused by sudden low pressure led to the thunderstorm which wrought large-scale destruction in the eastern region.

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