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Dust storms kill 77 and injure 142 people in northern India

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NEW DELHI — Dust storms that tore across northern India has killed at least 77 people and left 143 injured as trees and walls were brought down by powerful winds, officials said Thursday.

The overnight storm ravaged Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan states and the death toll was expected to rise, officials said. There were 46 confirmed deaths in Uttar Pradesh in the north and 31 in Rajasthan to the west. Most of the victims were hit by falling walls and trees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, twitted he was “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.”

The Agra district of Uttar Pradesh, home to the Taj Mahal monument, was one of the worst hit, according to media reports.

Power supply and train traffic were affected after the trees were uprooted and walls collapsed because of the high-speed winds.

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The storms uprooted trees and electricity poles in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday night,according to the Hindustan Times.

Officials said trees and walls were brought down during the overnight storm, and the death toll may rise.

Rajasthan’s chief minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted: “Have directed Ministers and concerned officials to affected areas to begin relief work immediately and restore utilities. An unfortunate incident, we have been working closely with local authorities to mitigate the situation.”

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US to provide 4 Sky Trucks to Nepal Army

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KATHMANDU — The government of the United States is providing four Sky Trucks, light cargo and passenger aircraft, to the Nepal Army for rescue and disaster response efforts.

Two of the four Sky Trucks that will arrive in Kathmandu by 2020. Those two aircrafts will be newly manufactured while the rest will be refurbished aircraft.

The Army is running short of aircraft, with just around a dozen of heavy, medium, and light transport helicopters comprising its fleet.

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According to the US Embassy in Nepal, the value of the four aircraft is $35.5 million.

The US government had pledged the aid during an outgoing Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri’s visit to the United States in April 2016. The US government, during Chhetri’s visit to the US, had pledged to provide Nepal Army with four aircraft within two years.

During his farewell speech on August 8, Chhetri highlighted the US support as one of the significant achievements of his tenure.

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