Avalanches kill 1, trap 11 people under snow in IoK

Heavy snow has caused avalanches in the Himalayan region of Kashmir that have trapped 11 people and killed one, officials said Friday.

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Rescue operations were being hampered on Friday for people trapped at a fire brigade station at southern Banihal area overnight, said top police officer S.P. Pani. Trapped under the snow are six policemen, two firefighters and two prisoners.

Pani said the policemen had taken shelter in the station because it was historically untouched by avalanches in the mountainous area where avalanches and landslides are common.

A man died in southern Kokernag area from an avalanche that hit his home Thursday evening while his wife was still trapped under snow, police said. Two other family members were rescued Thursday night.

Dozens were evacuated from high-risk areas Thursday following the heavy snowfall.

The snow disrupted power and communications as well as air traffic in Indian-controlled Kashmir, while cutting the Kashmir valley off from India. Authorities issued a high-danger avalanche warning in many parts of the region.

Last month, 10 laborers were killed when an avalanche hit at a Himalayan mountain pass in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

But avalanches have caused some of the heaviest tolls for the Indian and Pakistani armies camped near the de facto frontier dividing their territories.

In 2017, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in three avalanches, and in 2012, a massive avalanche in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir killed 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both in its entirety.

AP

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