UCA News


India's north hit by deadly storm, church promises help

Strong winds hit urban areas destroying shanty shelters and stripping other buildings of their roofs

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
India's north hit by deadly storm, church promises help

This photo taken on May 2 shows a tree that fell in high winds during a storm onto a vehicle in Bareilly in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state. (Photo by AFP)

Share this article :
Church groups are assessing the impact of a deadly dust storm that hit six northern Indian states May 2, killing more than 130 people and injuring more than 300, mostly poor living in shanties.

India's most populous Uttar Pradesh state suffered the worst with 73 people killed when the storm struck at night time. At least 41 were killed in Rajasthan, 11 in West Bengal, six in Madhya Pradesh and two in Bihar, according to reports released by government agencies.

Heavy winds plowed through urban areas in these states destroying shanty shelters and mud houses while stripping other buildings of their roofs.

Most people were killed when their houses collapsed on top of them or were hit by flying objects.

Rain and thunderstorms continued the following day in some regions further south.

Father Jerish Antony, social work director in affected Ajmer Diocese in Rajasthan, said most people were sleeping when the dust storm hit and were caught by surprise.

"More deaths were reported in poor areas, where people lived in mud houses. Their houses collapsed and they died under the rubble," Father Antony said.

The storm cut electricity and communication systems which disrupted rescue efforts, Father Antony said.

Heavy rain followed the storm which prevented many of the injured from receiving prompt medical assistance increasing the death toll, the priest said.

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India said the church will do everything possible to assist those affected.  

Caritas India has assigned its local partners to assess the storm damage to help plan its relief efforts, said Anjan Bag, who manages humanitarian aid for the Catholic charity.

"We have started assessing the loss and our local partners and church groups are already working in the affected areas," Bag said.

"We will respond immediately after getting the initial report," he told ucanews.com.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."