Army Major, 4 of a family killed in avalanches in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 25:
An army Major and four members of a family were killed in avalanches in Ganderbal and Bandipora districts of Kashmir on Wednesday.
A defence spokesman said an avalanche hit an army camp at Sonamarg in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district this morning.

He said an army officer Major Amit Sagar and seven army men were trapped in the snow. “The army launched rescue operation and managed to rescue the trapped army men. However, Major Amit Sagar died in the incident”.
Earlier, four members of a family died when an avalanche hit their residential house in Gurez area close to Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

According to officials, avalanche struck a residential house of Habibullah in Badugam area of Gurez at around 5 am when the family was asleep.
“The house was buried under the snow after being struck by avalanche,” they said.
They said several teams were rushed to the spot to rescue the trapped people.

“After four hours of operation, the teams retrieved bodies of 50-year old Habibullah son of Bahadur Lone, his wife Azizi Begum, 50, daughter Gulshana Bano, 19 and son Irfan Ahmed 17. However, Habibullah’s son Riyaz Ahmed was rescued and shifted to hospital, where they were undergoing treatment,” the officials said.
Riyaz is an army porter.

Riyaz’s sister, who was at maternal aunt’s house, also survived the avalanche.
Meanwhile, two persons were injured in Dawar area of Gurez after a buildup of snow fell from the roof of their house.
Both the persons were caught in the snow and were rescued only after joint efforts of locals and government officials.
A residential house belonging to Bashir Ahmad Lone was partially gutted in fire incident in Chorwan area of Gurez.
In another incident, a ration store crumbled in Buglinder area of Gurez due to heavy snowfall.
“Huge quantity of food items including rice, flour, pulses, and kerosene dumped in the store were partially damaged,” the locals said.
Gurez area has been witnessing continuous snowfall from last three days.
About 5-9 feet of snowfall has been recorded during last 48 hours, officials said.
Due to continuous heavy snowfall, the risk of avalanches has increased in Gurez and Tulail areas of Bandipora.
The officials have advised people living in Dawar, Achoora, Burnie Neeru, Budugam, Buzgai and Tulail to stay indoors.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Gurez Rauf-u-Rehman told Rising Kashmir that heavy machinery was pressed to clear snow from the main routes.
He, however, said the situation is dangerous due to continuous snowfall.
“We have advised people to remain indoors,” he said adding there is threat of avalanches.
Meanwhile, scores of trees were uprooted due to snowfall in Hajin area of Bandipora, Officials told Rising Kashmir.