At least 100 people have been killed and many more injured injured in fierce dust storms that hit the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The storms on Wednesday disrupted electricity, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and killed livestock.
Many of the dead were sleeping when their houses collapsed after being struck by intense bursts of lightning.
Dust storms are common in this part of India during summer but loss of life on this scale is unusual.
Sixty-four people died in Uttar Pradesh, 43 of them in Agra district which is home to the Taj Mahal monument. Officials say the death toll could increase.
Falling trees and walls killed many people in the state.
Local journalist Laxmikant Pachouri reports that 21 people had died in the village of Kheragarh, about 50km (30 miles) south-west of Agra.
“People are in shock and can’t believe that such destruction happened in their village. I met a family which lost four children last night – it was so disturbing. The family can’t believe it. They told me that their children were playing in the house when a wall collapsed on them,” Pachouri said.
“Their parents are so distraught and cannot stop crying.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the loss of life.
Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon.
Have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected: PM
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officials to personally monitor relief operations.
The storms also affected three districts in neighbouring Rajasthan state – Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur – where at least 31 people were killed. Officials say Alwar is worst affected. Schools in the district are closed.
Alwar hotel owner Shivam Lohia said he abandoned his car after it was almost blown off the road.
“I haven’t seen such a devastating storm in at least 25 years. Everyone was scared and running for cover as trees and homes were getting blown away. It was a nightmare,” he said