Jammu: Five people, including an Army officer, were killed in snow avalanche that hit a house and an army camp in Kashmir valley on Wednesday, while four of a family died after their house was buried under the snow near Bandipora district.
As authorities issued fresh avalanche warnings and rescuers struggled to find trapped people, one more person was killed when he was clearing snow from the rooftop of his house taking death toll to six.
Meanwhile, snowfall is continuing in the region, with Jammu receiving rainfall on Wednesday afternoon. The Meteorological department Kashmir has warned that vulnerability of avalanches at higher reaches will increase as more snowfall in next 24 hours is expected.
“The vulnerability of avalanches will increase more as we are expecting more snow for next 24 hours in Kashmir.” Director MeT department, Sonam Lotus said.
On Wednesday an avalanche hit an army camp in Sonamarg area of district Ganderbal in central Kashmir, between 6 and 7 am, when majority of the soldiers were sleeping inside their barracks.
Major Amit Sagar of 115 Territorial Army, who lost his life in the incident, was also sleeping inside his room when the snow avalanche buried the entire building. However, the rescuers were able to save eight other soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army in Srinagar denied media reports suggesting that five of its soldiers have been killed. “One casualty is conformed,” Defence PRO, Col Rajesh Kalia, told Firstpost on phone. “The moment avalanche hit the camp we immediately launched a rescue operation and all the trapped soldiers were rescued,” he added.
Col Kalia also denied reports of army soldiers gone missing after the avalanche and said that the rescue operation was over in few hours after the avalanche struck the camp. “All the soldiers are safe and no one is injured,” he said.
However, another civilian family in Badoogam village in Tulail area of Gurez in north Kashmir, was not so lucky, whose house caved in after the avalanche killing four of the family. The rescuers had to struggle for hours before they could save one person of the family.
Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani said that the house crumpled under the weight of the snow.
“It was miracle that we found one person alive,” Dr Rouf-ur-Rehman, Block Medical Officer, Gurez said, “but tragically four members of the family were killed.”
MeT officials said that Gurez valley has received 4-5 feet and 6 feet fresh snow respectively in the last two days, thereby making the area prone to avalanches.
Divisional Administration in Kashmir has said that widespread rains and snow has been forecast in Kashmir Division for the next three days. A statement issued by the state government said that all the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir Division have been asked to necessary precautionary measures in their respective districts.
In another incident one more person died in Kralpora village of Kupwara district when he was clearing snow from the roof of a house. “The house collapsed suddenly in which two persons were trapped under the debris of the house for over forty minutes. Ganie died on spot,” officials said.
The authorities in Kashmir have issued an avalanche warning for the higher reaches of the Kashmir Valley, following fresh snowfall on Tuesday. They also advised people to stay away from mountains and foothills.
Last year ten army soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, were killed after an avalanche ripped off their post at 19,600 ft in one of the world’s highest battlefield between India and Pakistan, Saichen in the northern glacier sector of the Ladakh region.
Updated Date: Jan 25, 2017 19:18 PM