Snow Fury: 14 Soldiers Feared Dead in North Kashmir

Srinagar: Ten army men were killed while several others are missing after two avalanches were reported in Gurez sector while Kashmir Valley continued to remain cut off from rest of the world for the third day today. 

An avalanche hit an army camp in Gurez valley of Bandipora district near the Line of Control (LoC) Wednesday evening in which several soldiers were trapped, the army official said.

He said that rescue operations were launched and seven soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer were saved.

The official said that another avalanche hit a patrol party which was on its way to a post in Gurez on Thursday.

“Rescue teams were able to retrieve three bodies from the spot of the incident while some soldiers are still missing,” the official said.

He said at least four soldiers were missing and heavy snowfall was hampering on-going operations.

J&K Police spokesperson said that ten Army jawans of 51 RR died in Tulail area of Gurez in Bandipora district after their camp was hit by snow avalanche.

“The Army camp of 51 RR is located at Manzgund Neeru in the jurisdiction of Police Station Tulail which came under snow avalanche, resulting in death of ten army jawans,” the JKP spokesperson said. “Rescue operation is going on. Details awaited.”

On Wednesday, an officer was killed in an avalanche at Sonamarg in Ganderbal district while four members of a family died in another avalanche in Gurez. One person was killed in Kupwara while he clearing off the snow from the roof top of his house while one youth died during the intervening night of Tuesday and Saturdaywhich he spent in his vehicle when he was attending a patient at district hospital Budgam.

Authorities have issued a high danger avalanche warning in hilly parts of snow-bound Kashmir valley in view of fresh snowfall which has been going on intermittently for past three days.

Valley has been witnessing one of the most severe winters in recent times and according to Director MeT, Sonam Lotus, valley is witnessing the major snowfall after a gap of ten years with heavy snow across the territory and temperatures dropping to minus seven degrees Celsius.

Modi Grieved

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the death of ten soldiers in avalanches in Gurez valley.

PM Modi took to social networking site, Twitter, to convey his condolences after the tragedy.

Meanwhile Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti also expressed grief over the death of soldiers who were buried alive at Gurez.

Both conveyed their sympathies with the families of the deceased.

The CM directed the divisional and district administration to coordinate with the army authorities and speed up rescue operations for tracing the other missing army men.

CM also directed the Bandipora district administration to ensure that all precautionary measures are taken in avalanche prone areas, particularly in Gurez to avoid any fatalities.

Over 30 Structures Damaged

The incessant snowfall across the Valley continued to damage the houses and orchards on the second consecutive day on Thursday.

More than 30 structures were damaged due to heavy snowfall in Budgam, Ganderbal and Baramulla, police said.

In Budgam 28 structures including 12 residential houses, 3 shops and an Imambargah were damaged due to heavy snow fall.

In Ganderbal a residential house belonging to Ghulam Mohammad Najar son of Ali Mohammad Najar resident of Akhal got damaged due to snow fall.

In Rafiabad area of Baramulla district min northern part of Kashmir, a rooftop of a house collapsed due to continuous snowfall for last two days.

Reports said that the house belonging to Ghulam Qadir Bhat, resident of Panzlaa area of Rafiabad was partially damaged due to the heavy snowfall in the area.

Police confirmed the incident and said that all the family members have been evacuated safely.

Meanwhile, reports said that a police man was injured after he fell from a rooftop of his house at Pazalpora area of Rafiabad.

Similar reports of snow fury were received from other area of the northern part of Kashmir.

Inhabitants of several areas said that they are reeling under darkness from past 48 hours as the Power Development Department (PDD) has failed to restore the electricity in their areas thereby adding miseries to the people.

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