10 killed as avalanche hits Kashmir Four Indian Occupational Forces lost lives, lady dies due to suffocation

Kupwara, Jan 14: Four occupational army persons lost their lives after an avalanche hit post in Machil sector, one trooper rescued, while as a lady died due to suffocation in Kreeri Baramulla of north Kashmir.
Four occupational troopers lost their lives after an avalanche hit their post in the Machil sector in Kupwara district, a top police official told early times over the phone.
The police official said that four soldiers were killed after an avalanche hit an Army post in Machil sector along the LoC on Tuesday. Five soldiers were trapped under the avalanche.
The Occupational Army launched rescue operations and traced four of their soldiers. While another was injured and is being treated at a local military facility, the police official informed.
If sources are to be believed the soldier’s were from 45 Rashtriya Rifles (RR). However sources said that avalanches also hit Gurez and Rampur sectors along the LoC. However, no immediate reports of damage have been received from the areas, till the last reports came in.
It is also learnt that a lady namely Gulshana Begum W/O Syed Mohammad Shafi R/O Kreeri died due to suffocation at her residence in Kreeri on the intervening night of Jan 13-14.
A family of two members had slept in a room, and for whole night gas cylinder was on and most probably they inhaled the toxin elements, due to which a young lady of 39 years old died due to suffocation, and another was found unconscious who was immediately removed to hospital for emergency treatment, however his life was saved by the doctors on duty, a relative of the deceased told early times.
The fresh snowfall has worsened the life of common masses, due to which normal life gets affected in north Kashmir districts, as the administration has so far failed to clear snow from roads in upper belts. The non-clearance of the snow has virtually cut off dozens of border areas from the rest of the world.
Similarly Baramulla town has received 3-4 feet and its adjoining areas have also received 5 feet of snow including Ski resort of Gulmarag that has received 4-5 feet of snow, till the last reports came in.
Sources said that one house got completely damaged due to mud-sliding in Rajpora Kandi and 5 houses got partially damaged in Nambla Uri of Baramulla district. Sources further informed ET over the phone that, the fresh heavy snowfall has compounded the problems of the people in many border and high altitude villages, adding the administration, especially Mechanical and R&B departments have failed to clear snow from main roads, lanes and by-lanes, due to which communication and vehicular connectivity has got affected.
There are chances of land sliding, and avalanches in dozens of the areas including Chandoosa, Dandmooh, Choonthpathri Babareshi, Shirpora Kalantra, Verinar, Khaitangan, Katiyanwali, Shaldajan, Nowshara, Boniyar, Banali, Trikanjan, Laridoora, Khandniyar, and other low lying and high altitude areas of Baramulla district, said sources.
Sources also said that the government has not sent any snow clearing machines in these far flung villages, including in Kupwara district, while as private JCBs were seen clearing the roads and the concerned departments have failed to clear the roads, due to which patient’s gets stranded and the drivers have been risking their lives by ferrying the ill patients to hospitals on snowy roads.
Meanwhile 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 occupational 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.

S Tahir-ul Haq
Ealry Times Report

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