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J&K: Snowfall triggers avalanches, 10 dead

The MET office in Srinagar has predicted an improvement in the weather.

Srinagar | Published: March 13, 2014 2:01:54 am

Ten people, including two soldiers, were killed and 80 persons were rescued in Kashmir after heavy snowfall triggered avalanches and landslides in South Kashmir’s Kulgam village and Kargil district. 

The Valley has witnessed heavy snowfall in March after decades, throwing life out of gear. While the plains received over 40 cms of snow, four to five feet of snow accumulated in the upper areas triggering landslides and avalanches.

J&K’s Disaster Management Cell had earlier issued an advisory for the higher reaches of the Valley. The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) also issued avalanche warnings for the upper reaches of Kashmir.

Snowfall disrupted power supply across the Valley and caused breakdown in the mobile and Internet services. For the past two days, the Valley has been without power supply and authorities have been unable to restore it due to a technical snag in transmission lines. Officials, however, said efforts were on to restore the power supply.

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway has also been closed for traffic since Sunday. “An avalanche in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district resulted in three deaths and eight injuries… The state government has offered to place a helicopter to fly out any injured people,’’ Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Officials said at Balsarin village in South Kashmir 10 houses collapsed after an avalanche hit the village. While three villagers died in the avalanche, locals launched rescue efforts and saved many others.

The rescue operation is still on and teams are looking for the missing villagers under the debris. Two villagers, including a woman, died in South Kashmir when their houses collapsed. In Kargil, sources said two Army jawans died when a shed collapse at Batra village. Three laborers from Nepal were also buried under the avalanche in the region.

The MET office in Srinagar has predicted an improvement in the weather. “The cycle of Western Disturbances has ended and the weather will start improving from Wednesday,’’ an official said.

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