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11 killed as multiple avalanches hit Kashmir

Keeping vigil: Border Security force stand guard at Jammu & Kashmir national highway, ahead of Republic Day parade, in Jammu on January 14, 2020.

Keeping vigil: Border Security force stand guard at Jammu & Kashmir national highway, ahead of Republic Day parade, in Jammu on January 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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An Army patrol was also hit by an avalanche in Gurez’s Kanzalwan area in Bandipora district. However, there were no reports of any casualty.

Five soldiers and six civilians were killed as multiple snow avalanches descended on several posts of the Army and the Border Security Force along the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir and residential areas in Central Kashmir in the past 24 hours.

An official said a post, manned by five soldiers, was hit by an avalanche in Kupwara’s Macchil sector on Monday night. “Three soldiers were brought dead. The body of the fourth missing soldier was spotted late on Tuesday afternoon. However, one jawan was rescued alive,” said an official.

In another avalanche, snow buried four jawans in a BSF post at Jabri area along the LoC in Kupwara’s Nowgam sector. The Army was able to rescue all of them. However, one BSF jawan died. The cause of death is suspected to be cardiac arrest, an official said.

An Army patrol was also hit by an avalanche in Gurez’s Kanzalwan area in Bandipora district. However, there were no reports of any casualty. In central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, two major avalanches buried around 17 people alive.

“Two houses were buried under snow on Monday evening in Ganderbal’s Kulan area. An immediate rescue operation was initiated and around 12 people were saved. However, around 5.30 p.m. another avalanche buried pedestrians on a walkway. Five bodies were retrieved,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ganderbal, Khalil Poswal.

The police have advised locals “to avoid unnecessary movement in avalanche-prone areas.” The deceased were identified as Dawood Ahmad, Muhammad Akbar and Muhammad Sadiq Thakery, and his two sons, Showkat Ahmad and Ishtiyaq Ahmad. One injured civilian, Abdul Rehman Lone, died in a local hospital in Bandipora. Lone was hit by an avalanche in Tulail Valley of Gurez in Bandipora district.

An official said over two dozen houses and mud shelters were damaged by these avalanches. An avalanche also blocked one tube of the Jawaharlal Tunnel, which connects the Valley with the rest of the country. The fresh spell of snowfall, which started on Sunday, has closed down the Srinagar-Jammu highway. Snow also affected the Baramulla-Budgam rail service on Tuesday. The Snow Avalanche Study Establishment has warmed of more avalanches in Ladakh’s Kargil and Leh districts and Kashmir’s Bandipora and Kupwara districts.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:23:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/many-killed-as-multiple-avalanches-hit-kashmir/article30565306.ece

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