Snow Fury: Seven Killed, Valley Cut Off From Outer World

Srinagar: Kashmir Valley remained cut off from outer world even as seven persons were killed in heavy snowfall which started during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

Routine life was totally disrupted due to fresh snowfall with the Meteorological Department predicting widespread precipitation till January 26.

Life in Srinagar city, which recorded two centimetres of snow till evening, and elsewhere was also disrupted because of intermittent precipitation.

The snowfall also resulted in the closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway and cancellation of all flights to and fro from Srinagar Airport.

Surface and air links between the Kashmir Valley and the outside world remained suspended.

“No vehicular movement was allowed on Wednesday on the Srinagar-Jammu highway because of fresh snowfall and highly slippery roads,” traffic department officials said.

“Any decision about road opening will be conditioned to weather,” Traffic officials said. The highway remained closed for vehicular movement on Tuesday as well.

All flights to and from the Srinagar International Airport also remained suspended due to poor visibility.

Due to the poor visibility and snowfall, the Air-traffic remained suspended. SP Airport, Manzoor Ahmad, told KNS that no flight could land here due to bad weather.

Closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway has promoted unscrupulous traders to increase prices of essentials especially vegetables and pulses.

While the plains received moderate snowfall during the last 24 hours, there are reports of heavy snowfall in the higher reaches of the valley.

Main roads here and other district headquarters were cleared off the snow in the morning, but reports from rural areas and sub-urban areas said that link roads remained closed due to snow accumulation.

Fresh snowfall also disrupted inter-district road connectivity between Srinagar and other district headquarters.

Electricity supply in the valley has been badly affected. People have been staging protests against the power development department recently.

Engineers of the department assert they are working 24×7 to ensure restoration of electricity disrupted due to snowfall.

Weather office has forecast rain and snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir till Thursday evening after which there will be an overall improvement in the weather.

 “There is a forecast of widespread rain/snow with isolated and fairly widespread heavy snowfall on January 26 and fairly widespread to isolated rain/snow from January 27-28,” officials at the MeT department informed.

In Budgam at least sixteen houses were damaged due to heavy snowfall, officials said.

Nine houses were partially damaged in Beerwah sub-division of the district while rooftops of several houses were damaged in Narsingpora, Beerwah, Goripora, Mirpora, Utterpora and Sonpah villages.

An Imam Bargah was damaged due to heavy snowfall in Sonpah, said an official.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate Beerwah Ghulam Mohi ud Din Shah told Kashmir Observer that initial reports of field staff suggest nine residential houses and seven cowsheds have been damaged.

Partial damage to five residential houses and two sheds has been reported from Khansahab.

Meanwhile, a residential house belonging to Nazir Ahmad at Negu Jabad and another house at Poshkar Khag were severely damaged due to heavy snowfall today morning, added the official.

“Families putting up at Nawroz Baba, Zogyari and Maninar villages of Khag tehsil have been asked to remain vigilant and shift to safer places keeping in view possibility of snow avalanches,” said SDM Beerwah.

Meanwhile, a portion of hillock collapsed in Pantha Chowk area in Srinagar outskirts situated along the Srinagar – Jammu highway Wednesday afternoon.

One residential house of Irshada Begum Widow of Abdul Aziz Sheikh got damaged. However, the inmates escaped unhurt, reports said.

Seven, Including Four Of A Family, Die

Seven people, including four of a single family, died on Wednesday, due to avalanches at different places in Kashmir.

Four persons died after an avalanche struck their house today in Gurez area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

A district official said, “four persons of a family died after an avalanche hit their house in Budugam.”

According to officials, Habibullah Lone, 50, his wife Azizi, 48, daughter Gulshan Bano, 19 and son Irfan, 17, died after the avalanche strike their house around 4 am on Wednesday.

Another avalanche hit army barrack in Sonamarg, in which one army personnel got killed and all others were safely rescued.

Army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia told KNS that around 6 am on Wednesday, an avalanche hit the army barrack, in which one personnel died and others were rescued.

Meanwhile, J&K police in a statement said that a Territorial Army camp of 115 Bn at Sonamarg came under snow avalanche, resulting in death of an Army Major Amit Sagar. “Rescue operation is going on to save the rest of the persons. More details to follow.”

While in Kupwara’s Kralapora area, a man died on Wednesday after roof top of his residential house collapsed.

A police official said that Ab Ghani, 32, died while clearing snow from his houses roof top.

In central Kahsmir’s Budgam district, a youth died during his sleep, last night, which he spent in his vehicle.

Officials said that one Mudasir Ahmad, a 27 year-old-boy, resident of Beerwah, had accompanied a patient to District Hospital Budgam last night. However, he spent night in his vehicle and was found dead Wednesday morning.

He had died because of cardiac arrest, sources said, adding that doctors have already warned of increase in the heart ailments due to severe cold.

Two residential houses were partially damaged due to snowfall in Ladoora village of Rafiabad in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the divisional administration of Kashmir, has appealed people not to worry and take safety measures.

The District headquarters have asked to take all precautionary measures for the safety of people.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, and Kupwara, have setup control rooms and asked people to contact in need.

Mehbooba Grieved; Directs Admn To Provide Assistance To People

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief over the deaths caused due to snow avalanches and house collapse incidents across the State due to heavy snowfall.

The Chief Minister has asked the divisional administrations of Kashmir and Jammu to remain alert and provide all help and assistance to people in these difficult times, an official spokesperson said.

She has also directed the administration to ensure on time clearance of snow and ensure availability of other services to people.

Mehbooba Mufti has directed all the Deputy Commissioners and District SPs of the Kashmir Valley districts to monitor situation in their respective areas round the clock and extend all help to stranded people, infirm and patients.

She has also directed them to personally supervise snow clearance operations and restoration of essential services in their areas on war footing.

The Chief Minister has also directed the Deputy Commissioners to make alternate arrangements for people who houses were damaged during the heavy snow and extend all help to them.

Rescue Operation Launched: Police

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday said that their men launched a rescue operation in Bandipora and rescued 25 families to safer places.

Besides, J&K Police rescued two pregnant ladies in Shalkot and Judinambal areas of Sopore and shifted them to hospital for treatment.

In view of the heavy snowfall and apprehension of snow avalanche in Khadiyall and Ismarg areas of Gurez Bandipora, Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a rescue operation and rescued 10 familes consisting of 70 members in Khaidyal and shifted them to Dawar Gurez. In Ismarg 15 families consisting of 80 members were rescued and shifted to safer place in Kanzalwal in the jurisdiction of Police Station Gurez.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a rescue operation in Sopore after they received an information that two pregnant ladies are stranded in their homes in Shalkot and Judinambal areas due to heavy snowfall. On receiving this information, SDPO Rafiaabad along with SHO Panzla constituted a team.

The team cleared the snow on the roads and both the ladies were shifted to Sub District Hospital Rohama for treatment. However, one of the ladies gave birth to the child while on way to hospital.

In Kupwara, vehicles were stranded and skidding on roads due to heavy snowfall. Kupwara police cleared the snow and helped the vehicles to go through.

300 Transformers Damaged: PDD

The fresh spell of snowfall across the Valley has damaged around three hundred PDD electricity transformers.

Chief Engineer Power Development Department (PDD) Kashmir division, Shahnaz Goni told KNS that more than 300 transformers developed technical snag due to the heavy snowfall from past couple of days.

She added that men and machinery have been pressed to get the damaged transformers repaired on war footing basis.

“Our priority is to restore power supply to the affected areas. The number of transformers damaged till Tuesday was 300. The number may go up as we have been receiving reports of heavy snowfall in north Kashmir,” Goni informed.

“The officials are on ground and reassessing situation. Field staff is active on ground while senior officials are monitoring the process of restoration power supply to affected areas,” she said.

She added that damage to transformers varies. “Somewhere it is damaged while at few places it developed minor technical snags. It would take a few days to repair the all damaged transformers,” she informed.

The Chief Engineer appealed to consumers to cooperate with the department and use electricity judiciously.

Pertinently, the Kashmir Valley started to receive snowfall since the intervening night of Monday-Tuesday while the weatherman here has predicted more snow in the next 24 hours. The heavy snowfall across the Valley also led to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway.

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