At least 26 people were killed and 57 injured as dust storms, hail, rain and lightning struck various parts of Uttar Pradesh late on Thursday evening, collapsing walls, uprooting of trees and prompting authorities to launch a large-scale rescue operation, officials said.

"While six people died in Mainpuri, three each died in Etah and Kasganj, two each in Farrukhabad and Barabanki, and one each in Moradabad, Badaun, Pilibhit, Mathura, Kannauj, Sambhal, Ghaziabad, Amroha, Badaun and Mahoba in incidents related to dust storm and lightning," data released by the state relief commissioner said.

About 41 people were injured in the worst-hit Mainpuri district. Police said most of the injuries occurred when people sleeping inside their mud houses were caught unawares by the thunderstorm, which was accompanied by rain, leading to wall collapse. People were also injured when signboards and hoardings got snapped at several places, and fell on them, the police said.

"Majority of the deaths were due to wall and roof collapses, lightning and falling of trees," a revenue department official said.

Thirty-one cattle died and 16 houses were also damaged in the incidents, officials said.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials to take necessary measures to provide relief to affected people, said Awanish Awasthi, principal secretary, information.

The ministers incharge of affected districts include minister of state (MoS), food and civil supplies, Atul Garg (Etah); MoS, housing and urban planning, Suresh Pasi (Kasganj); MoS, urban development, Girish Chandra Yadav (Mainpuri); labour and employment minister Swami Prasad Maurya (Badaun); MoS (independent charge), rural development, Mahendra Singh (Moradabad); and sports and youth welfare minister Chetan Chauhan (Farrukhabad).

Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati urged the state government to start relief work in affected districts quickly.

"Family members of victims who lost their lives should be given economic aid," Mayawati said.