New Delhi -

Lightning in two Indian states has killed at least 44 people and injured more than three dozen, officials and news reports said on Wednesday.

At least 31 people died in the eastern state of Bihar on Tuesday when a storm hit nine districts, state disaster management official SK Chaudhary said.

“Victims who were struck by lightning bolts were mostly farmers or the homeless who were outdoors,” Chaudhary said by phone from state capital Patna.

“Aurangabad was the worst-affected district, accounting for six deaths,” he added.

Six children and three women were among the casualties, the IANS news agency reported.

Around 25 people had sustained serious burn injuries and were being treated at hospitals, Chaudhary said.

Lightning strikes also claimed 13 lives in four districts of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh adjoining Bihar, IANS said. More than a dozen were reported injured.

The storm occurred during the height of summer in India, which has seen soaring temperatures across many states ahead of the monsoon season. - Sapa-dpa