Avalanche buries boy alive; authorities renew warning

SRINAGAR: Authorities in Kashmir on Saturday renewed their call to brace for ‘impending’ avalanche as the higher reaches received a fresh spell of snowfall on Friday night with a Meteorological Department official predicting medium to heavy snowfall in the next 24 hours.

The killing of a teenage boy in an avalanche incident on Saturday morning in the forest area of Machhhil in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district prompted the authorities to revisit the status.

A teenage boy died and two others were injured after an avalanche struck the forest area of Machhil in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Saturday afternoon.

According to the police report, an avalanche hit the Chuntiwari Balla area of Machhil in the frontier district, resulting in on-spot death of a 15-year-old boy.

The incident occurred when the three teenagers were on their way towards a religious school in the area, the officer said.

No sooner did the news spread, the locals, police and army personnel rushed to the spot and launched a rescue mission.

“Aided by a detector technique, Army’s avalanche rescue team swung into action and helped in retrieving the body from underneath the snow,” a press statement of the army said. “The army also helped in rescuing other two boys trapped beneath the snow.”

The deceased has been identified as Mehrajudin Khan (15) son of Bashir Ahmad of Katwara Machil. The injured have been identified as Javid Ahmad Khan (14) son of Younis Khan of Khali Balla, Machil and Abdul Rashid Mir (14) son of Abdul Rehman of Chuntiwari Balla, Machhil.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Dr Asghar Samoon issued a medium-level warning for Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora and Ladakh districts. 

The areas include Chokibal-Tangdhar, Keran, Gurez, Nawgam-Kalyan, Machil and Drass sector in Ladakh district.

Authorities quickly issued an advisory for the people living in these areas that they should stay indoors. 

People have also been advised not to let the snow accumulate on rooftops to avoid any causality due to roof collapse.

Dr. Samoon, who chaired an emergency meeting of all the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir, took stock of the arrangements put in place in case of heavy snowfall. 

“Around 119 snow cutter machines have been kept ready,” officials informed. “The Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Urban Local Bodies have been directed “to keep men and machinery ready for snow clearance and dewatering pumps in case of water logging.”

Joint control rooms have been established at district level for “better coordination and quick response to meet any exigency.”

The Power Development Department has been directed “to ensure uninterrupted power supply.” Srinagar did not receive snow for the last 40 days, otherwise considered the harshest spell of winter, locally called Chilai Kalan.

 

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