Heavy Snowfall Wreaks Havoc In Kashmir

  KO Photos by Abid Bhat

2 Killed, Over 100 Structures Damaged; 8 Rescued From Mudslide

Srinagar: At least two people, including a CRPF officer were killed on Wednesday due to the fresh spell of snowfall that wreaked havoc across the Valley damaging dozens of residential houses, causing widespread destruction to horticulture, and plunging many parts of Kashmir into darkness.

A CRPF Sub Inspector died on duty after a shed collapsed at former National Conference (NC) legislator’s residence in Hazratbal area of Srinagar on Wednesday.

Official sources said the CRPF Sub-Inspector H C Murmu of 115 battalion was grievously injured after the shed at the residence of the former MLA Hazratbal Mohammad Sayeed Akhoon caved in due to heavy snowfall. He was removed to nearby SDH Hazratbal wherefrom he was referred to SKIMS Soura. However he was declared brought dead on arrival at the tertiary care hospital, they said.

The paramilitary sub-inspector was on guard duty when the incident took place.

In another incident, a massive block of snow fell from a roof and buried a 70-year-old woman just outside her residence in Trehgam area of Kupwara district.

Reports said that the woman, Rahmi Begam, wife of Abdul Subhan Malik of Shah Mohalla Trehgam, had just ventured outside her house as a chunk of snow accumulated on their roof fell, burying her. She was dead before the family could evacuate her.

Over 100 Houses, Shops Damaged

Over a hundred structures, including houses and shops were damaged following heavy snowfall across the Valley, officials said. At least twenty seven residential houses suffered partially or substantial damage in Uri and Boniyar villages of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, they said. The houses include four in Nambla, as many in Uri, two in Dani Seydan, five in Jabla, three in Garkote, as many in Dardkote and Udoosa besides one each in Sultandaki, Mayan Boniyar, Bijhama Boniyar.

Also, reports said a poultry farm and two non-residential structures were also damaged in Garkote Uri due to heavy snowfall.

A senior official from administration said that 30 structures have been damaged as per initial reports. “We are collecting more details” the officer said, adding, “There has been no loss of life or injury reported so far.”

Meanwhile, in Shopian’s Zainapora, a residential house belonging to Javid Ahmad Khan collapsed due to heavy snowfall. Also, Imamia Public School run by Educational trust Kashmir was partially damaged.

In Srinagar, house of Abdul Gaffar Sheikh at Nalabal Nowshera and another house belonging to Ghulam Nabi Sheikh at Gagribal was damaged due to snow. Another house, belonging to Ghulam Mohammad Guroo at Boatman Colony Bemina also suffered damage due to heavy snowfall.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary sanctioned an immediate relief of Rs 12.60 lakh for damage to roof-tops and houses due to heavy snowfall.

While 76 houses which suffered damages to their roof-tops were provided an immediate assistance of Rs 5200 each, 3 other houses damaged in the snowfall were sanctioned an amount of Rs 3.5 lakh, an official spokesperson said.

In Ganderbal district a house belonging to Ghulam Ahmad was also damaged, reports said.

In Khanda, rooftop of the house of Master Ghulam Mohammad collapsed. Also there were reports about several shops and cowsheds suffering damage due to the snowfall.

2 More Houseboats Sink In Dal Lake

Besides residential houses and other concrete structures, the heavy snowfall also caused extensive damage to two houseboats in Dal Lake. The houseboats New Shimla and Bulzimar sank in the middle of Srinagar’s Dal Lake on Wednesday under the weight of heavy snowfall. Last year, nine houseboats sank in Dal Lake and Jhelum here.

Eight People Rescued From Mudslide

Eight people were rescued after their vehicles got trapped in a mudslide near Panthiyal along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, officials said on Wednesday.

The 270-km highway was closed for traffic on Sunday following heavy snowfall and incessant rains which triggered multiple landslides and shooting of stones from the hillocks.

The eight people hailing from Rajasthan were going towards Jammu in two cars when they were caught in a mudslide near Panthiyal in Ramban district on Tuesday evening amid heavy rains, the officials said.

Both the vehicles were damaged in the incident, they said, adding the eight were returning to Jammu after being stranded en route to Kashmir for the last several days.

22 Families Evacuated In Kulgam

Authorities on Wednesday evacuated 22 families in avalanche-prone area of Kulgam and accommodated them in a school in the south Kashmir district.

Officials said that 22 families of Marisle Nallah Kund were evacuated and accommodated in the Government Middle School in view of avalanche warning in the area. The step has been a precautionary one to prevent any loss of life.

Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority (DMA) has issued medium and low level avalanche warnings for higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir.

As per a communiqué received in this regard, medium level avalanche warning has been issued for higher reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Bandipora districts besides Waltengu Nad, South and North portals of Jawahar Tunnel, Verinag, Kapran, Chowkibal-NC Pass, Gurez, Dawar and Neeru areas.

Similarly, low level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Udhampur, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Sonamarg – Zojila, Z-Gali- Kalaroose, Kanzalwan, Tangmarg and Gulmarg.

As such, people living in these avalanche prone areas are advised not to venture out to avoid loss of lives.

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