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11 killed in avalanches, house collapse in J&K

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 - 1:54pm IST | Agency: PTI

At least 11 people, including two army jawans, were killed while over 100 others were evacuated to safety as the unprecedented snowfall in March triggered avalanches and damaged over 150 structures including dozens of houses in Jammu and Kashmir.

Two Army personnel, Naik Vijay Prasad and Dharmindra Singh of 82 field regiment, died after an avalanche hit their camp in Kargil sector of Ladakh region, police said today. 

Bodies of both the personnel have been recovered. Four persons were killed after an avalanche hit two houses at Paiseran-Dragdun village in Damhal Hanjipora area of south Kashmir's Kulgam district in the wee hours today, a police official said. 

A 48-year-old woman died after her tin shed dwelling collapsed due to heavy snowfall at Mimigam village in Qazigund area, the official said. Three Nepali labourers were killed when an avalanche hit a stone quarry at Kaksar in Kargil sector, he said.  A 60-year-old woman Fazi died after her house collapsed under the weight of snow at Kansu village of southern Shopian district last night.Two other family members were rescued.

A police spokesman said 14 Gujjar families comprising 65 persons were shifted from Waltengo Nard area of Qazigund in Kulgam district to safer places due to threat of avalanches. 

Six more Gujjar families comprising 24 persons were shifted from Meerasi Nallah area of Qazigund to safer places, the spokesman said. Two persons, Qasim Khatana and Mohammad Iqbal Barkat, were rescued from Muspora village and shifted to safety.

In another rescue operation, police along with Army rescued 10 members of two families from Kellar area of Shopian. Two more families, consisting of five members each, were rescued from Shopian. The families were shifted to the houses of village heads of Moshwara, the spokesman said, adding one more family of Yousuf Ganie from Dublipora Wachi was rescued and shifted to another house in the village.

Quoting preliminary reports, the officials said more than 150 residential and other structures have been damaged due to the snowfall. Kupwara district in north Kashmir has been the worst-hit and the damage could be of higher magnitude than reported so far, the officials said. 

Heavy snowfall across Kashmir has paralysed normal life in the Valley, snapping its links with the outside world and hitting power and water supply. Authorities had issued a high danger avalanche warning for higher reaches of the Valley and asked people not to venture on steep slopes till this evening.


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