3 Army jawans among 10 killed in Kashmir; 57 lose their lives in Pak-occupied Kashmir.
SRINAGAR: At least 10 people, including three Army jawans, were killed and several other persons injured or went missing after a series of avalanches hit Kashmir during the past 24 hours, officials said here on Tuesday.
A report from Muzaffarabad said that as many as 57 people were killed following heavy snowfall and avalanches in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir over the last 24 hours as the local authorities struggle to clear and reopen highways and evacuate people to safer places.
PoK officials have said that many villagers were still stranded in the avalanches in the Neelum Valley area following heavy snowfall and rains that also triggered landslides. Many people were reported missing and feared dead as rescue efforts got under way, they added.
The plains and upper reaches of Kashmir Valley and also PoK received heavy snowfall on Sunday and Monday paralysing life in many parts of the Himalayan region.
The officials said in Srinagar that three Armymen were killed and another went missing after their post in Machil sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir Valley’s Kupwara district was swept by an avalanche on Tuesday. They added that five soldiers were trapped under heaps of snow. The Army launched rescue operations and traced four of the soldiers — three of them were dead and the fourth one was injured. One soldier was still missing as reports last came in.
In a similar incident, five civilians, including a man and his two sons, were killed after they were hit by an avalanche in Risen Kolan village of Gagangir area of the Valley’s central district of Ganderbal late Monday night, they said.
The sources said the search operation by locals and police continued throughout the night. The bodies of five in a group of nine persons which had been buried under heaps of snow were recovered early Tuesday morning.
Sources said that multiple avalanches have occurred in higher reaches of Kashmir Valley and several Army posts along the LoC in Bandipore, Kupwara and Baramulla districts over the past two days.
It was not immediately known if the Army has suffered any casualties in these incidents other than those reported in Machil sector. However, the officials said that a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan was killed after an avalanche hit the post he was deployed at in Nowgam sector of the LoC on Monday evening. Six of his colleagues were, however, rescued by a BSF team, the officials said. The BSF is deployed in some areas along the LoC under the operational command of the Army.
The authorities had received a communication from the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment and issued a low-level avalanche warning between Tuesday-Wednesday evening for various areas of J&K and Ladakh.
J&K lieutenant governor Girish Chandra Murmu expressed grief over the loss of lives due to avalanches. He asked the administration to provide the best medical treatment to the injured persons.
The officials said that dozens of residential houses, granaries, cowsheds and other structures have been damaged in avalanches in Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Baramulla districts of Kashmir Valley during the past 24 hours.
Earlier on Monday, a National Conference leader Moulvi Mohammad Khalil Sohil, 37, was killed after he was hit by a boulder from a hillock.