At least 70 dead as India hit by powerful storms

Thunderstorm, squall likely in UP in next two days

As many as 80 deaths were reported as thunderstorm and lightning lashed five states during the intervening night of May 13 and 14, leaving 136 people injured, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said here on Monday.

Hail, wind and thunderstorms brought down walls, trees and power pylons in Uttar Pradesh state, killing 48 people, T. P. Gupta of the state disaster management department told AFP.

In the eastern state of West Bengal 14 people were killed Sunday after lightning struck a house in the state capital Kolkata, including four children as thunderstorms separately ravaged several localities. Officials told BBC Hindi that casualties could go up further.

Five people were killed in New Delhi and the surrounding region, largely due to falling trees, authorities said. Forecasts have warned of more fierce storms in parts of the north and east of the country over the next two days. Air travel in Delhi was also affected, with around 70 flights being diverted from the city's global airport on Sunday night.

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Thunderstorms and lightning on May 2-3 had killed 134 people and injured over 400 in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Rajasthan, Telangana, Utttarakhand and Punjab. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he "prayed" for the speedy recovery of those who were injured and he asked officials to provide assistance. He said that the relief department is assessing the damage in the state.

Gupta said 80 people were injured by the gusts that flattened almost 40 houses across India's most populous state.

Earlier this month, more than 90 people died in deadly dust storms.

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