13 killed in Gujarat in unseasonal rain, dust storm

Gandhinagar: Unseasonal rain and severe dust storm in different parts of Gujarat over the last two days claimed 13 lives even as authorities Thursday predicted that temperatures that had fallen to less than 3 to 7 degrees below normal would rise from next week to mark a normal summer.

Officials at the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) in Gandhinagar said the deaths occurred due to different reasons ranging from electrocution, lightning strikes and uprooting of trees.

The worst affected districts were in North Gujarat and the western Saurashtra regions. As on Wednesday evening, as many as 13 deaths were reported while many people sustained injuries.

Mehsana district reported the maximum five deaths followed by Banaskantha (2) and one each in Patan, Sabarkantha and Ahmedabad in North Gujarat region. One person each was killed in Rajkot, Morbi and Surendranagar in Saurashtra, according to Gopal Bhayani at the SEOC.

Bhayani told IANS that there were no reports of dust storm or rain from any part of the state on Wednesday evening onwards. He said heavy rains were preceded by dust storms in most parts of Gujarat.

The central and state governments announced Rs 2 lakh compensation to each of the kin of those killed.

First, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the compensation from the PM Relief Fund, followed by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who also announced Rs 2 lakh relief. In all, every family of those who died would receive compensation of Rs 4 lakh.