Eleven killed as avalanches strike parts of Kashmir Valley

At least 11 people have died in snow avalanches across Jammu and Kashmir in the last 24-hours, including seven in a massive one that buried a police post near Jawahar Tunnel in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, officials said on Friday. Two more were crushed in landslides on the Ramban highway, while one person drowned.

Ten people, eight of them police personnel, were buried under snow on Thursday evening by the avalanche. Two were rescued alive on Friday morning while the bodies of five policemen and two others were recovered. One policeman is missing.

“Seven bodies have been recovered while two have been rescued,” said additional deputy commissioner of Anantnag, Showkat Ahmad Rather.

The Qazigund block medical officer, Zahoor Ahmad, said the rescued policemen were stable.

Heavy rain and snow have been lashing Jammu and Kashmir since Wednesday, blocking the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and disrupting air traffic. The weather improved on Friday, helping in the rescue operations.

In two other snow avalanches in Kokernag area of Anantnag since Thursday, three more people died, police said. A couple died when an avalanche hit their Kokernag home late on Thursday. In the other incident, a man who had gone into a forested area of Kokernag to fetch firewood was buried under snow. In Chatroo area of Kishtwar district, a 12-year-old boy was buried alive in an avalanche, officials said.

Tirath Ram, 55, drowned after he tried to cross a gushing stream in Ramnagar area of Udhampur district. Two men were crushed by boulders during landslides at two different spots on the highway in Ramban district.