Five more persons including four army soldiers were killed due to avalanches in Gurez and Uri areas of north Kashmir caused as a result of heavy snowfall. However the weather in Valley improved today and the MeT department has predicted dry weather over next week in the region.A defence spokesperson said that in two “unfortunate incidents” of severe avalanches in Gurez sector on January 25, the army has lost fourteen soldiers. He said that the bodies of ten soldiers were recovered yesterday. The remaining soldiers’ bodies were recovered today.“We pray for the gallant departed souls who braved all odds with exemplary commitment and dedication to duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families and we pray to almighty to grant them strength to bear this irreparable loss,” the spokesman said.
Providing details, he said that the weather in Kashmir over the past few days has been rough and the last 72 hours have witnessed very heavy snow fall and thus accumulation of heavy volume of snow in the higher reaches. “Army, deployed in difficult areas all along the Line of Control, has a post near Mahazgund village in Gurez Valley which was struck by an avalanche at around 5 PM on 25 Jan 17 in which three shelters were buried under the snow trapping seven soldiers.“Swift action by a few soldiers at the post and timely help of the villagers of Mahazgund ensured saving of six soldiers. Unfortunately, three soldiers could not be saved whose bodies were retrieved on 26th Jan by the Avalanche Rescue Teams that were rushed to the post. At approximately the same time, a patrol of 01 Junior Commissioned Officer and 10 Other Ranks was caught in a massive avalanche near Niru in Gurez Valley in which all the 11 soldiers were trapped,” he said.
“Concerted efforts of the specially equipped Avalanche Rescue Teams which have continued despite the inhospitable terrain and weather conditions and further avalanche warnings, have led to recovery of mortal remains of all our comrades, who were part of this patrol,” the army spokesman said.On Wednesday, four of family was killed in a snow avalanche at Gurez while an army major was killed at Sonmarg in similar incident. Meanwhile, one person was killed after an avalanche hit Gawas village of Lachipora in Uri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday. The death toll in different snow related incidents has now climbed to 21 in three days.
Police meanwhile said ten residential houses were damaged due to heavy snow fall in the valley. In Sopore, two residential houses belonging to Ghulam Ahmad Dar and Abdul Hamid residents of Ladoora got damaged after a tree fell on them due to snow fall in the jurisdiction of Police Station Sopore. In Kupwara, a joint residential house of Bashir Ahmad Kar and Asha Begum residents of Tikipora got damaged due to heavy snow fall.
In Budgam, building of Government Middle School Sapplan and old building of Primary School Dalwash got damaged due to heavy snow fall. In Kulgam, four residential houses belonging to Ghulam Hassan Gojri resident of Gujjar Basi Avil, Mushtaq Ahmad Ganie, Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Baba residents of K.B Pora and Ghulam Rasool Magray resident of Watto got damaged to due heavy snow fall.
Besides, a Government Middle School Hakradan and a residential house belonging to Dilshada resident of Nigenpora in the jurisdiction of Police Station Qazigund were damaged due to snow fall. Police provided its helping hand in South Kashmir’s Pahalgam and Kokernag areas of Anantnag District by shifting two stranded pregnant ladies to hospital.“Anantnag police received information that a pregnant lady Dilshada wife of Bashir Ahmad resident of Aaroo, Pahalgam who is stranded at her home due to heavy snow fall needs immediate evacuation to hospital. On receiving this information SDPO Pahalgam Shri Muzaffar Hussain constituted a team headed by SHO Police Station Pahalgam Shri Tariq Ahmad Khan,” a police statement said.
The team cleared the snow on about four kilometres of road from Pahalgam to Aaroo and crossed eight kilometres by foot to reach the spot. The lady was safely shifted to Pahalgam hospital for treatment.Another phone call was received by Police Station Kokernag that a pregnant lady Masooda Jan wife of Mohammd Altaf Wani resident of Panzgam Kokernag is stranded on road who was on way to Kokernag hospital.On this information a team was constituted by Kokernag police and MED employees. The team cleared the snow on the road and shifted the lady to Kokernag Hospital, the statement added.The weather in Kashmir Valley improved today and there was pause in snowfall. The MeT department said that the weather will remain dry in Valley for one week onwards. The air traffic at Srinagar international airport resumed today but Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained shut due to avalanches, landslides and shooting stones at several places.(GNS)