Kashmir: Bodies of 7 cops recovered from avalanche site

 Bodies of seven policemen, who went missing after their post was hit by an avalanche near Jawahar Tunnel in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district last evening were recovered on Friday while two were rescued and one more is still missing.
 
Police confirmed that seven bodies were recovered in the afternoon by the rescue teams while the body of one more policeman was being searched. A police official said rescue parties were rushed to the spot late last night, but they were unable to reach the spot due to continuous snowfall and high-velocity cold winds.
 
He said three persons were rescued from the debris of the avalanche alive.
 
In a separate incident, nine houses and a primary school building were hit by avalanches in the Mangith and Mahu villages of Ramban in Jammu but no loss of life was reported. The affected persons were rescued and shifted to safe places.
 
The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) of the defence ministry had on Wednesday issued warning of avalanches hitting in at least 16 districts of the state.
 
Heavy snowfall on Wednesday and Thursday has thrown life out of gear across Kashmir with the delivery of health services badly hit as hospitals grappled with a breakdown of essential services while patients struggled to reach the health facilities due to the closure of roads.
 
In absence of a helpline, patients could not send emergency calls to the health department. Due to snow-covered roads, while public transport remained suspended, patients had no means to call for emergency response.
 
Reports said in several hospitals, power breakdown created difficulties for patients, especially in southern districts of the Valley. 
 
The strategic 264 km-long Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for the third consecutive day on Friday due to heavy snowfall and landslides. No traffic was allowed on the highway on Friday due to multiple avalanches in the Banihal area and landslides in the Ramsoo-Ramban area, a traffic police official said.
 
Fearing that the restoration of the highway could take more days, the administration Thursday evening ordered rationing of petrol and diesel in the valley. An order issued by Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir has directed petrol pumps not to supply more than three litres of petrol per vehicle per day and just 10 litres of diesel to commercial vehicles until further orders.
 
Air traffic also remained suspended for third consecutive on Friday due to snowfall and poor visibility.
 
Heavy snowfall also forced people to stay indoors, even as vehicular movement in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley was reported to be thin due to accumulation of snow.

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