India rushes aid to the east after storm kills 48, displaces thousandsThe Indian authorities were rushing food rations, clothes and cooking utensils to villagers in the east of the country on Thursday after a storm killed at least 48 people and left thousands more homeless, government officials said. With wind speeds of up to 70 km per hour (43 mph) and heavy rains, the storm struck Bihar state late on Tuesday, uprooting trees and electricity poles, ripping through farmland and destroying over 25,000 mud-and-thatch homes. State officials said 12 of Bihar’s 38 districts had been affected, including Purnia, Madhepura and Saharsa. “Now we are rushing relief, food items and utensils to the affected families,” Anirudh Kumar, a state disaster management official, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. As well as ripping apart homes and destroying possessions, the storm also flattened banana plantations and maize and wheat fields, causing many villagers to lose their livelihoods, he said. Officials said they were still assessing the scale of the devastation, a process hindered by snapped telecommunication lines and villages cut off by uprooted trees blocking roads. “The damage is huge although we cannot provide the exact figure because we are still assessing the extent of damage,” said Sudhir Kumar, a senior official in Purnia. MORE