9 killed as snowfall, rain trigger avalanches in Kashmir

9 killed as snowfall, rain trigger avalanches in Kashmir
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New Delhi: Four security personnel and five civilians were killed in Jammu and Kashmir after heavy snowfall and incessant rain triggered avalanches and landslides in the region.

After an avalanche hit a post in the Machil sector, the Army launched rescue operations to recover the five soldiers trapped there. Three were declared dead, and one who was injured was brought in for treatment at a local military facility. Efforts are on to find the fifth missing soldier. 

In a separate incident, a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel was killed and six others were rescued after avalanches hit the Naugam sector near the Line of Control (LoC).

"Out of the seven troopers deployed in the area, six were safely rescued but one constable trapped could not be revived even after much effort," a senior officer of the border guarding force said.

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

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

3,000 vehicles stranded

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the second consecutive day on Tuesday due to harsh weather, leaving over 3,000 vehicles stranded.

The traffic on the highway was closed due to shooting of stones from hillocks overlooking the arterial road at several places in Ramban district, traffic police officials said.

Snowfall is also continuing on Kashmir side of the highway including Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to the valley, since Sunday.

No fresh traffic was allowed from Nagrota in Jammu for Kashmir, they said.

Across the border

According to media reports, at least 75 people, including women and children, were killed and over 40 injured in Pakistan too after heavy snowfall and incessant rain triggered avalanche and landslides near the India border.

Relief, disaster and civil defence secretary Syed Shahid Mohyiddin Qadri told Dawn that heavy snowfall and rains have blocked several roads in high altitude areas.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in low-lying areas of Sialkot, Gujrat and some other cities in the largest province of Punjab, the report said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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