Five soldiers among 10 killed in Kashmir avalanches

Five soldiers among 10 killed in Kashmir avalanches

File photo for representation

Ten people, including five soldiers, were killed after snow avalanches hit an Army and BSF posts in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district and a village in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday.

Reports said an avalanche struck a forward location at Shahpur in Machil sector of Kupwara near Line of Control (LoC) in which five soldiers went missing.

“A search operation was started immediately by the army and the missing soldiers were traced. While four of them were declared dead, one is being treated a local military hospital,” an army official said.

In another incident in the Nowgam sector of Kupwara district, a BSF forward post came under snow avalanche killing one BSF personnel, reports said.

Officials said another avalanche struck a village in Gagangir area of Ganderbal district in which five civilians were killed while four others were rescued.

The avalanche struck on Monday night when the five civilians were passing by the area. The bodies of the five have been recovered, they added.

Last week in a similar incident, an Army porter died, and three others were rescued after they were struck by an avalanche along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu region.  In January 2018, in a series of four avalanches 24 persons, including 20 soldiers and four civilians had died.

Almost every winter, dozens of Indian and Pakistani soldiers are killed by avalanches along the LoC. In 2012, a massive avalanche in the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir killed 140 people, including 129 soldiers.

With most parts of Kashmir experiencing moderate to heavy snowfall for the past two days, authorities have issued a warning advising people not to venture out into avalanche-prone areas. People have also been advised to remove snow from their rooftops to avoid any casualty due to house collapse.

Meanwhile, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, only road link between Kashmir and rest of the country, remained closed for vehicular traffic for fourth consecutive day due to avalanches and accumulation of snow at several places on the 264-km long road.

An official said efforts are on by BRO with their men and machines to clear the highway of landslides, avalanches and snow.

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