Heavy snowfall killed at least nine people in Himalayan Kashmir yesterday and has left the region paralyzed, officials said. Deep snow has blocked roads and damaged power lines, disrupting life and blanketing the area in darkness. Hospitals are without power and surgeries have had to be canceled. The snow caused large scale damage to apple trees, the mainstay of the region’s economy, and all incoming and outgoing flights at Srinagar airport were canceled Thursday, reports the Deccan Herald.
Two army porters were buried alive when they were hit by an avalanche near Tota Gali along the Line of Control in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Similarly, two army men were killed when their vehicle skidded off the road and hit a garbage dumper in the Langate area of the same district. Another man working with the electricity department died in Srinagar, the region’s main city while trying to restore power supplies, which have been disrupted. He fell off a pole, dying on the spot, officials said
An official of the power development department, identified as Manzoor Ahmad, died after he was hit by a falling tree when he was restoring power supply Hazratbal area of Srinagar. Another identified civilian died in the same area when a branch of massive Chinar tree fell on him. Three more snow-related deaths were reported from other areas of Kashmir over the past 24 hours.
The season’s first major snowfall also hit the road connectivity across Kashmir. Despite administration claiming that machines had been moved to clear snow on intra and inter-district roads, scores of vehicles remained stuck on roads across the valley, reports said. Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road link between Kashmir and the rest of the country, has been blocked by landslides and accumulation of snow at several places on both sides of the Pir Panjal mountain range, an official said.
This is the second-consecutive year when Srinagar has recorded an early snowfall in November – a rarity.