A massive storm hit Bihar’s Araria, Purnea and Kishanganj districts on the border with West Bengal Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and rendering hundreds homeless.

“A storm with high wind velocity hit the entire Seemanchal region including Araria, Purnea and Kishanganj and badly disturbed normal life,” Vayasji, principal secretary in the disaster management department, told IANS.

“Thousands of people have been rendered homeless and many thatched houses badly destroyed,” he said.

Official sources in Araria, about 350 km from here, said at least 11 people were killed and hundreds of houses were destroyed or badly damaged by the storm and lightning.

“All victims were from Farbisganj area,” an official said.

Three people were killed in Purnea and two in Kishanganj. The storm left crops and houses damaged in Purnea.

Araria district superintendent of police S.S. Thakur said an old wall of Araria jail collapsed following which “police decided to shift 650 inmates to Purnea jail”.

Unconfirmed reports said dozens of cattle were killed.

The government has announced Rs.5 lakh for the kin of those killed and Rs.10,000, Rs.5,000, Rs.2,000 for those who homes have been destroyed.

The same storm left 31 dead in West Bengal.

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