Patna: At least 44 persons perished in the severe Nor'wester which ravaged 12 districts of Bihar last night.
"A majority of the deaths - around 30 persons have occurred in Purnia, while seven lost their lives in Madhepura," state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on his return after an aerial survey of the affected areas.
The remaining deaths were reported from the other 10 affected districts. Over 80 persons are seriously injured and undergoing treatment at various government hospitals.
The affected districts are in north and northeastern parts of the state including Purnia, Araria, Kishanganj, Katihar, Madhepura, Supaul, Saharsa, Bhagalpur, Samastipur, Darbhanga and Madhubani.
"Crops have also severely been damaged. In fact, the maize crop has been completely flattened. We are in the process of estimating the destruction. We are going to hold video-conferencing with all the affected districts today evening over it," Kumar said.
The chief minister said he had spoken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh before the aerial survey, and would again update him about the extent of damage after the video-conferencing with the concerned districts.
"Singh has assured us of help. We will also include the damage in the memorandum that we are preparing to submit to the Centre on the loss to agriculture due to rain and hailstorm in the last couple of months. We are going to provide input subsidy of Rs 1,760 crore to the affected farmers," he said.
Kumar, who flew till Purnia, and met administrative officials of the Purnia Commissionerate, said people died as houses collapsed and trees were uprooted. Many were injured after being hit by tin sheds, which are used for roofing in the area.
Indian Meteorological Department Director in Patna, R K Giri said the Nor'wester, or tropical storm, which descended from Nepal hitting Purnia, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and went deep inside the state up to Bhagalpur, packed a wind speed around 65 km per hour.